The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday (28/7) said that the Hong Kong government would suspend extradition treaties and agreements on mutual assistance for criminal matters with the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
In a daily briefing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin criticised the three countries for having used the city’s national security law as "an excuse to unilaterally announce the suspension of extradition treaties" with Hong Kong.
Wang also slammed that the three countries' decision to suspend extradition agreements with Hong Kong over the city’s new national security law constituted a gross interference in China's internal affairs, saying their decision seriously breached international law and the basic principle of international relations, which China is resolutely against.
He pointed out that with the assistance and authorization of the central government, the Hong Kong SAR has always provided assistance proactively to Canada, Australia, and the UK, in accordance with the Basic Law and under the framework of the agreement.
Wang added the wrong action of Canada, Australia and the UK in politicising judicial cooperation with Hong Kong had seriously hurt the basis of judicial cooperation, and had deviated from the purpose of judicial cooperation and upholding justice and the rule of law.
Wang said China had decided to suspend extradition treaties between Hong Kong and Canada, Australia and Britain, as well as criminal justice cooperation agreements.
New Zealand, a member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, followed suit after three intelligence partners Canada, Australia and the UK had earlier suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong.
Earlier on the day, the New Zealand government announced that it has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and made a number of other changes in light of China's decision to pass a national security law in the city.
“New Zealand can no longer trust that Hong Kong’s criminal justice system is sufficiently independent from China,” New Zealand’s foreign affairs minister Winston Peters said in a statement on Tuesday. “If China in future shows adherence to the ‘one country, two systems’ framework then we could reconsider this decision.”
According to the statement, the country’s review of its overall relationship with Hong Kong is ongoing, but Peters announced two other outcomes of it.
“Firstly, we are changing how we treat the export of sensitive goods to Hong Kong. From now on, we will treat military and dual-use goods and technology exports to Hong Kong in the same way as we treat those exports to China. Secondly, we have updated our travel advice to alert New Zealanders to the risks presented by the National Security Law,” Peters said.
Responding to New Zealand’s action, Wang said its action is based entirely on the “misinterpretation” of the national security law.
The Chinese government is resolute to safeguard national sovereignty and security, and oppose external forces’ interference in Hong Kong, he said, adding that any attempt to pressure China will not succeed, urging New Zealand to rectify the mistake immediately.
According to a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in New Zealand, Wellington's decision to suspend the extradition treaty is a serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations, calling the decision a gross interference in China's internal affairs.
The Chinese side has lodged its grave concern and strong opposition, the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that the Chinese side urged the New Zealand side to abide by the international law and the basic norms governing international relations, immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs in any forms to avoid further harm to the relations between the two countries.
中國外交部：香港將停止與英國、加拿大和澳洲司法互助協議 / 立場報道