New Zealand suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong

Sydney, Australia, Jul 28 (efe-epa).- The New Zealand government announced on Tuesday the suspension of its extradition treaty with Hong Kong as a result of the new national security law imposed by China on the former British colony.

“China’s passage of its new national security legislation has eroded rule-of-law principles, undermined the ‘one country, two systems’ framework that underpins Hong Kong’s unique status, and gone against commitments China made to the international community,” Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said in a statement.

He added that it was important that the country responds “proportionately and deliberately” to the passing of the security law, and as part of that, “Cabinet has decided to suspend New Zealand’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong.”

“New Zealand can no longer trust that Hong Kong’s criminal justice system is sufficiently independent from China. If China in future shows adherence to the ‘one country, two systems’ framework then we could reconsider this decision,” he said.

The New Zealand government also announced that while a review of its relationship with Hong Kong is ongoing, it will treat exports of sensitive goods, such as military and dual-use products and technology exports, to Hong Kong the same as those to China.

It also updated the travel alert to the special administrative region, alerting New Zealanders to the risks posed by the new national security law.

With this decision, New Zealand follows in the footsteps of its neighbor Australia, which earlier this month suspended its extradition agreement with Hong Kong over this same law.

Australia also opened a way for Hong Kong people in the country to obtain permanent residence.

The law, passed in May at the Chinese National People’s Congress, is seen by many critics to curtail rights and freedoms in the territory. Crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces are punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison.

It has also been criticized by countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, the government of which has decided to grant residence permits and eventually British nationality to around 3 million Hong Kong citizens. EFE-EPA


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