Downing Street has confirmed its plan to review the UK’s extradition arrangements with Hong Kong in light of the passing of the controversial Hong Kong national security law on 30 June 2020, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said amounted to a “clear and serious breach” of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The new law gives Beijing wide-reaching powers in the law enforcement and security arenas. In particular, the law introduces custodial sentences of up to life imprisonment for crimes deemed subversive, secessionist or involving collusion with foreign forces. This has been perceived as a means to crack down on ‘pro-independence’ and ‘pro-democracy’ protests which have been a near constant in the region in the past year.
In response to Number 10’s announcement, Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming, said that the move was “a political manipulation” against the implementation of the security law which was doomed to fail and “constituted a gross interference in China’s international affairs.”