It has been reported that Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, is expected to suspend the UK's extradition treaty with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) amid rising tensions between London and Beijing. This follows the recent imposition of China’s controversial national security law in the territory.
It is important to note that the UK has no formal extradition arrangements with mainland China. Hong Kong has entered into extradition agreements with 20 countries, including the UK and the US, but no such agreements have been reached with mainland China despite ongoing negotiations with the Mainland since the British handover of power in Hong Kong in 1997. Documents from the time of the negotiations over the handover reveal the UK government’s position at the time with regards to any extradition agreement with China: “It is government policy to only enter into extradition arrangements with governments whose judicial system, penal conditions, human rights standards are of an acceptable level”. The suspension of the extradition agreement with Hong Kong effectively places the SAR on the same footing as mainland China.
The move by the Foreign Secretary follows similar actions by Canada and Australia, who have already suspended their extradition agreements with the Hong Kong SAR, and by the US and New Zealand, who are reviewing their arrangements with the territory.
The review of the extradition agreement is one of a number of measures being taken by the UK Government in response to the controversial national security law imposed in the Chinese territory. The UK government announced in June that it will in due course open an immigration route for British Overseas Nationals, a special type of nationality provided to certain citizens of the former British colony of Hong Kong.
Gherson has a wealth of experience in extradition and human rights matters, as well as all aspects of UK immigration. Please do not hesitate to get in touch, should you require our advice and assistance.
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