UK looks at ditching Hong Kong extradition treaty
The UK is prepared to tear up its Hong Kong extradition treaty after the imposition of new security laws by Beijing, according to foreign secretary Dominic Raab.
Raab said he would outline the UK’s further plan to deal with Hong Kong tomorrow, but said the UK had enough international clout to get rid of the extradition treaty when pushed on the issue.
Australia and Canada have also binned their respective treaties with Hong Kong in recent weeks.
The UK has offered long-term visas, with routes to citizenship, to 2.9m Hong Kongers with British National (Overseas) passports, and their dependents, after the Chinese government imposed new draconian security legislation on the region.
The new laws effectively ended freedom of speech in Hong Kong, with criticism of the Communist Party of China made illegal.
When told in a BBC interview that the UK did not have enough international strength to cancel its Hong Kong extradition treaty, Raab said: “People said that about the offer we made on BNOs, they’ve said that about lots of things.
“I’m the one with this government, this is the prime minister who introduced the Magnitsky sanctions precisely because we are going to target the individuals responsible for the greatest human rights abuses.”
He added: “When I set out on 1 July the approach we’re taking on BNOs, but also on other measures, I said we would conduct a review of our extradition arrangements but also a range of other measures we might want to take.
“I’ve now, with the home secretary and the rest of government concluded that review, I will update the House of commons on what further measures we’re taking tomorrow.”
The UK’s relations with China are already at a low point, after the government announced it was banning Huawei from its 5G network this week.
The government has also introduced new Magnitsky sanctions, that could target Chinese nationals.
The act will see the UK impose sanctions, such as freezing assets and disallowing entry into the country, on people accused of violating human rights.
Chinese ambassador Liu Xiaoming said it was prepared to hit the UK with sanctions in retaliation to British actions.
“You’ve seen what happens in the United States, they sanction Chinese officials, we sanction their senators, their officials – I do not want to see this tit-for-tat happen in…China-UK relations,” he said.
“We never believe in unilateral sanctions, we believe that the UN is the authority, has the authority, to impose sanctions and if the UK government go that far to impose sanctions on any individuals in China, China will certainly make a resolute response to it.”