- The row between London and Beijing has escalated after Boris Johnson’s government suspended the UK’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong.
- It comes after China passed a draconian security law in Hong Kong which has already seen hundreds of pro-democracy protestors arrested.
- The UK infuriated Beijing earlier this month when it offered 3 million visas to Hong Kong residents.
- Senior Conservative MPs in the UK are pressuring Boris Johnson to ban TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media giant, in the UK.
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The UK government has announced that it will suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong amid escalating tensions between Beijing and London.
The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that China’s imposition of new national security legislation on Hong Kong meant that the UK will have to “immediately and indefinitely” suspend the extradition of Hong Kong nationals from the UK.
He said the move was designed to protect Hong Kong activists living in the UK and said it was a direct result of “China’s failure to live up to its [international] responsibilities.”
The UK prime minister Boris Johnson earlier on Monday confirmed reports that the UK would review its extradition arrangements with Hong Kong after China passed a draconian security law on the island which has already seen hundreds of pro-democracy protestors arrested.
“We obviously have concerns about what’s happening in Hong Kong,” Johnson said during a visit to a school in Kent, England.
“You’ll be hearing a bit later on from the Foreign Secretary about how we’re going to change our extradition arrangements to reflect our concerns about what’s happening with the security law in Hong Kong.”
It comes ahead of a formal statement from Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, later today. Raab on Saturday accused China of “gross and egregious” human rights abuses against Chinese Uighur Muslims amid reports of forced sterilisation and organ harvesting.
He said sanctions against the Chinese government could not be ruled out, while China’s UK ambassador said reports of concentration camps in China were “fake.”
Nathan Law, a prominent pro-democracy activist who fled Hong Kong to London when the security law was introduced earlier this month, told the Daily Mail newspaper he was relieved that Dominic Raab planned to scrap the extradition treaty.
‘That’s such good news because it means that Britain recognises that Hong Kong’s rule of law does not exist,’ he told the Mail.
Johnson insisted he would not “completely abandon our policy of engagement” with China and said the UK would adopt a “calibrated response.”
The move nonetheless risks further angering China, with relations between Beijing and London having deteriorated sharply in recent weeks. Last week when Johnson said he was banning Huawei, the tech giant with links to the Chinese government, from building Britain’s 5G network, reversing a decision made in January.
The UK also infuriated China by offering visas to around 3 million Hong Kong residents in light of the new security law on the island.
In scrapping the UK’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong, the UK follows the example of the US, Canada, and Australia, who have all scrapped their own arrangements with the former British colony in response to China’s crackdown there.
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