28 Jul 2020

New Zealand suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong

12:06 pm on 28 July 2020

New Zealand has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong after the passing of a controversial national security law in Hong Kong.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters at his 2020 election campaign launch.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Beijing introduced the security law at the end of June, creating new offences which could see Hong Kong residents sent to mainland China for trial.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters made the announcement today, saying the legislation had "eroded rule-of-law principles" and undermined the 'one country, two systems' rule.

"In light of this, it is important that New Zealand responds proportionately and deliberately to the passage of the national security law. As part of that response, Cabinet has decided to suspend New Zealand's extradition treaty with Hong Kong," Peters said in a statement.

"New Zealand can no longer trust that Hong Kong's criminal justice system is sufficiently independent from China. If China in future shows adherence to the 'one country, two systems' framework then we could reconsider this decision."

In further measures, Peters said the export of military and dual-use goods and technology to Hong Kong would be treated in the same way as those exported to China.

He said New Zealand's review of its overall relationship with Hong Kong was ongoing.

"New Zealand remains deeply concerned at the imposition of this legislation, and we will continue to monitor the situation in Hong Kong as the law is applied. As a result, the review of our cooperation settings with Hong Kong will be ongoing."

Earlier this month, Peters had indicated New Zealand was reviewing its settings with Hong Kong and the travel advisory was updated to reflect the increased risk of arrest due to the new law.

"This legislation could be interpreted broadly, leading to increased risk of arrest and prosecution on national security grounds for a wide range of activity, including protest activity," the SafeTravel website said.

Although, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was already advising travellers not to travel to China - or anywhere overseas - because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Australia, Canada and the UK also suspended extradition treaties with Hong Kong earlier this month, while US President Donald Trump ended preferential economic treatment for Hong Kong.

The Australian government also warned its citizens in Hong Kong "may be at increased risk of detention on vaguely defined national security grounds", and announced changes to visas of Hong Kong citizens in the country, offering them a path to permanent residency.

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