UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced yesterday in Parliament that the UK would suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong with immediate and indefinite effect. Mr Raab further confirmed that the UK would extend its longstanding arms embargo with China to Hong Kong.
The move is the latest in a string of international responses to the imposition by China of a controversial national security law on the region, which Mr Raab termed a “clear and serious violation of the UK-China Joint Declaration and with it a violation of China’s freely assumed international obligations.” Last week, Australia suspended extradition arrangements with Hong Kong and both New Zealand and the US have indicated an intention to do the same.
The national security law is the latest in a string of events that have strained UK-Chinese relations. The Chinese crackdown on pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, the oppression and detention of the Uighur minority ethnic group, and allegations that China withheld information at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic have caused concern among UK officials.
The decision to suspend extradition was met with a warning by Chinese authorities that the UK was “going further down the wrong path.” Chinese ambassador in London, Liu Xiaoming, further criticised the move as a “blatant interference” in Chinese internal affairs.