After US, Britain Expected to Suspend Extradition Treaty with Hong Kong
Britain is expected to suspend an extradition treaty with Hong Kong later today amid the escalating tensions between the UK and China.
Following the imposition of the controversial national security law in Britain’s former colony, the UK offered residency rights to more than three million Hong Kongers. Over and again, Beijing has accused London and Washington of meddling in its own internal affairs and de-stabilising peace in Hong Kong.
The announcement to end the extradition treaty is expected to be made by the UK’s foreign secretary Dominic Raab later today. Raab will be addressing the parliament to discuss “extradition arrangements and also a range of other measures that we might wish to take” in respect of Hong Kong.
Recently, the UK had also reversed its decision to include Chinese tech giant Huawei in the UK’s 5G network. The decision to ban Huawei was made following the increasing security concerns about China. There is a huge debate, powered by the US, around the question whether Huawei could be trusted or does using its equipment leave the phones and communication network vulnerable and exposed.
The US says China could use Huawei for spying. The country backs its claims by linking Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei’s military background and the company’s role in communications networks, suggesting that Huawei poses a risk to the West.
The current extradition treaty sets out the basis on which those suspected of committing crimes in Hong Kong can be apprehended if they are in the UK and returned to face trial subject to due legal process and approval by ministers.
The UK, EU and the US have accused China of undermining the “One Country, Two Systems” principle guaranteeing a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong under Chinese rule since the 1997 handover of sovereignty. Last week, the US revoked Hong Kong’s special trade status.
After the national security law was imposed, the UK criticised the move calling it “deeply troubling”. Raab also called the decision “a grave step”. There is a possibility that the UK along with suspending the extradition treaty, may also impose sanctions on Chinese officials.
The UK has also denounced China for abusing the human rights of the Uighur minority in Xinjiang province. China has bene accused of committing “gross and egregious” abuses against the Uighurs. Raab said that forced sterilisation and wider persecution of the Muslim group were “reminiscent of something not seen for a long time”.
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