Australia offers support by suspending extradition agreement with Hong Kong

Pratik Purswani, International Affairs Officer

In a response to the new national security laws imposed by China, Australia has announced that it will suspend its extradition agreement with Hong Kong and extend temporary visas by a period of five years.

The decision comes against the backdrop of the draconian powers of the security laws, which are claimed to be an attempt at stamping out opposition by encroaching upon civil liberties of Hong Kongers. Many countries have expressed their concerns over the new legislation. While New Zealand has announced a review of its relationship setting with Hong Kong, Canada extended support by suspending its extradition treaty, boosting immigration, and banning the export of sensitive military items to Hong Kong.

Maintaining the treaty could lead to the risk of people being extradited to Hong Kong and ultimately facing arbitrary charges in mainland China. Australia’s announcement of extending visa by an additional five years will could also open a path to permanent residency for HK citizens.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced the move, claiming that Australia’s announcements “seriously violated international law and basic norms of international relations”. The Ministry also added that China “reserves the right to respond further”, however, failed to offer any specifics.

Read more about the new security laws in this New York Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/30/world/asia/hong-kong-security-law-explain.html?searchResultPosition=3.

See more on the Chinese Embassy's statement here: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-09/australia-hong-kong-china-extradition-and-visa-issues/12433332