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Canada suspends extradition with Hong Kong over China security law

The law was enacted in a secretive process, without the participation of Hong Kong’s legislature, judiciary or people, and in violation of international obligations, said Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne.

SNS | New Delhi |

Canada on Friday suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong to protest the tough new national security law China has enacted in the financial hub.

According to the foreign ministry, Canada is also halting exports of sensitive military gear to Hong Kong and updating its travel advisory for the city so Canadians will know how the law might affect them.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “Canada is a firm believer in the ‘one country, two systems’ framework”.

During a press conference, Trudeau said, “We’re extremely concerned about the situation in Hong Kong”.

The Canadian leader said the “one country, two systems” principle was important not just for the city’s 7.5 million people, but for the 300,000 Canadians who live there.

Earlier on Tuesday, China passed a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong prohibiting acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security.

The new suite of powers radically restructures the relationship between Beijing and Hong Kong, toppling the legal firewall that has existed between the city’s judiciary and the mainland’s party-controlled courts.

China will have jurisdiction over “serious” cases and its security agencies will also be able to operate publicly in the city for the first time, unbound by local laws as they carry out their duties.

The law was enacted in a secretive process, without the participation of Hong Kong’s legislature, judiciary or people, and in violation of international obligations, said Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne.

“This process demonstrated disregard for Hong Kong’s Basic Law and the high degree of autonomy promised for Hong Kong under the ‘one country, two systems’ framework,” the minister said.

Relations between Canada and China have been tense because of extradition proceedings under way against an executive of the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, who is wanted in the US on suspicion of violating sanctions against Iran.

Addressing the media before China passed the law, Hong kong Chief Executive Lam on Tuesday said that any warnings from the US or other foreign governments to impose sanctions over the matter “would not scare Hong Kong”, and the city’s government would fully cooperate with Beijing on any potential countermeasures.

The proposal, which has been condemned by the United States and Hong Kong pro-democracy figures as an assault on the city’s freedoms, was tabled on the opening day of the week-long National People’s Congress.

(With inputs from agency)