New Zealand on Tuesday suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, days after China passed a national security legislation for the semi-autonomous city.
“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,” New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters said in a statement.
“In light of this, it is important that New Zealand responds proportionately and deliberately… as part of that response, Cabinet has decided to suspend New Zealand’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong.”
Earlier, UK, Canada and Australia suspended extradition agreements with Hong Kong after China implemented the law that makes it a crime to undermine Beijing’s authority in the territory.
Hong Kong has been part of China since 1997, when the UK handed over the former colony to Beijing.
Last year, the Asian financial hub witnessed mass protests against a move to legalize extradition of accused people to mainland China.
Peters said New Zealand could no longer trust that Hong Kong’s criminal justice system is independent from China.
“If China in future shows adherence to the ‘one country, two systems’ framework then we could reconsider this decision,” he said.
A review of overall relationship with Hong Kong is ongoing, the foreign minister added.
“Firstly, we are changing how we treat the export of sensitive goods to Hong Kong. From now on, we will treat military and dual-use goods and technology exports to Hong Kong in the same way as we treat those exports to China. Secondly, we have updated our travel advice to alert New Zealanders to the risks presented by the National Security Law.”
‘Gross interference in internal matters’
China’s envoy to New Zealand expressed “grave concern,” and termed the move “gross interference in China’s internal matters.”
“Any attempt to pressure China on the issue of Hong Kong will not succeed,” daily New Zealand Herald quoted Wu Xi as saying. “The Chinese side urges the New Zealand side to abide by the international law and the basic norms governing international relations, immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs in any forms to avoid further harm to China-New Zealand relations.”
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