France suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong over security law


France has announced it will not ratify an extradition treaty with Hong Kong after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing imposed a draconian national security law on the territory.

The French government said the recently enacted and imposed law in Hong Kong, is a “change that compromises the inherited framework of the 1997 handover” from Britain and calls into question the respect for Hong Kong’s autonomous status and fundamental freedoms.

The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson said in a press briefing in Paris that “in light of the latest developments, as things stand, France will not ratify the extradition agreement signed on May 04, 2017, between France and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region”.

France follows Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany and New Zealand to become the latest country to suspend its extradition agreement with Hong Kong over China’s perceived encroachment on the territory’s freedoms.

In late June, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, China’s top legislative body, enacted the security law, prohibiting acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Friday that the Sept. 6 legislative election would be postponed for a year over health concerns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“France underscores the vital importance of holding the elections as swiftly as possible under conditions that will allow sincere democratic expression, in accordance with the rights and freedoms guaranteed by Hong Kong’s Basic Law,” the spokesperson said, referring to the mini-constitution in effect since the former British colony was returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

The European Council followed suit, calling on the Hong Kong authorities to reconsider the postponement and disqualification of nominations sought by 12 pro-democracy candidates for the legislative election.

The postponement “would delay the renewal of its democratic mandate and call into question the exercise of the democratic rights and freedoms guaranteed under Hong Kong’s Basic Law,” the EU council said in a statement.

“The recent disqualification of pro-democracy candidates, including sitting lawmakers previously democratically elected by the people of Hong Kong, also weakens Hong Kong’s international reputation as a free and open society,” it added.

China has rapped the foreign countries’ moves as interference in its internal affairs and protested against their “violation of international laws and regulations.” China also said Monday it has suspended its extradition treaty with New Zealand in retaliation. (Source: Mainichi Japan)