October 29, 2020

National security law: Australia suspends Hong Kong extradition treaty

Australia has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in response to fears over a new national security law imposed by China.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new law undermined “Hong Kong’s own basic law” and the territory’s current level of autonomy from Beijing.

Canada and the UK have also recently suspended extradition agreements.

Australia also offered to extend visas for HK residents currently in the country to five years.

This would enable a pathway to permanent residency for about 10,000 Hong Kong residents currently working and studying in Australia, Mr Morrison said.

China pushed through the law last week which critics say could lead to foreign nationals being arbitrarily detained in Hong Kong.

Mr Morrison said Australia had already formally notified Hong Kong and advised the Chinese authorities on the treaty change.

Australia also upgraded advice to its 100,000 nationals in Hong Kong on Thursday, urging them to reconsider their stay there.

“You may be at increased risk of detention on vaguely defined national security grounds. You could break the law without intending to. If you’re concerned about the new law, reconsider your need to remain in Hong Kong,” said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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