Hong Kong: UK set to suspend extradition treaty with ex-colony

Police officers detain protesters in Hong Kong during a rally against the new national security law Image copyright EPA Image caption Police officers detain protesters in Hong Kong during a rally against the new national security law

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is expected to suspend the UK’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong later amid rising tensions between London and Beijing.

It follows the controversial national security law imposed in the Chinese territory, and the decision to ban Huawei from the UK’s 5G network.

The UK has offered residency rights to three million Hong Kongers.

China has accused the UK of meddling in its own internal affairs.

Beijing has insisted it is committed to upholding international law and has accused the UK and the US of seeking to de-stabilise Hong Kong.

Mr Raab is due to make a statement to Parliament later on “our extradition arrangements and also a range of other measures that we might wish to take” in respect of the former British colony.

Such arrangements have been in place for more than 30 years.

What is the extradition treaty?

The existing agreement sets out the basis on which those suspected of committing crimes in Hong Kong can be apprehended if they are in the UK and returned to face trial subject to due legal process and approval by ministers.

But political and economic relations between the two nations have become strained in recent months, with the UK reversing its decision to give Chinese firm Huawei a central role in the UK’s 5G communications infrastructure.

The UK has denounced the new security law imposed in Hong Kong as “deeply troubling”, with the foreign secretary calling the move “a grave step”.

We’ve had the strongest indication so far from the foreign secretary that the UK is going to scrap its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in response to China’s actions there.

That’s a political decision designed to send another message to Beijing.

Sanctions – which could target senior Chinese officials – are an option too. But they are more complicated and likely to take longer.

At the same time, tensions with Russia are surfacing again over hacking and interference in the UK political system.

On Tuesday or Wednesday, we’ll finally see the Russia report, which is likely to examine a broad range of ways in which Russia is alleged to have sought to use influence, including the Brexit referendum and the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. Last week, ministers accused Russia of trying to hack the UK’s vaccine research.

All of this points to tensions escalating with both countries in the coming months,

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