China announced the suspension Tuesday of Hong Kong’s extradition treaties with Canada, Australia and Britain, a tit-for-tat move following similar decisions by those countries over a controversial new security law.
Canada, Britain and Australia are part of the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance. The other members are New Zealand, which suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong earlier on Tuesday, and the United States, which has signalled it is preparing to do the same.
“The wrong action of Canada, Australia and the UK in politicising judicial cooperation with Hong Kong has seriously hurt the basis of judicial cooperation,” said foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin at a regular press briefing.
“China has decided to suspend extradition treaties between Hong Kong and Canada, Australia and UK, as well as criminal justice cooperation agreements.”
Critics have said the Hong Kong security law is an erosion of civil liberties and human rights in the financial hub, which has been semi-autonomous from China since its handover from Britain in 1997.
But Wang accused the countries of having used the national security law as “an excuse to unilaterally announce the suspension of extradition treaties” with Hong Kong.