US suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong over national security law

DHARAMSALA, 20 Aug: The US has suspended or terminated its extradition treaty with Hong Kong as it declared that the controversial national security law Chinna imposed on Hong Kong had crushed the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.

“The Chinese Communist Party chose to crush the freedoms and autonomy of the people of Hong Kong. Because of the CCP’s actions, we are terminating or suspending three of our bilateral agreements with the territory,” the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted. 

The draconian national security law was one among the three US bilateral agreements with Hong Kong covering extradition and tax exemptions that the Trump administration has suspended, reported the Associated Press.

“These agreements covered the surrender of fugitive offenders, the transfer of sentenced persons, and reciprocal tax exemptions on income derived from the international operation of ships,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus has stated in a statement.

The report added the State Department has notified Hong Kong authorities of the decisions it said were the result of China’s drastic steps to erode the high degree of autonomy that Beijing promised to Hong Kong under the one country two systems arrangement.

The US now joins other countries such as Canada, Australia, the UK, New Zealand, France and Germany who have all suspended the treaty.

Earlier in July, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to end preferential economic treatment for Hong Kong after the after China imposed the new security law in Hong Kong.

Additionally, on 7th August, the US imposed economic sanctions on 11 officials from Hong Kong and mainland including Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam for “curtailing political freedom in Hong Kong.”

China’s rubber-stamp parliament passed the controversial national security law in Hong Kong on 30 June. 

While critics believe the legislation will crush political freedoms and pave the way for China to cement its control over the semi-autonomous territory, has been condemned internationally, authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have insisted that it is aimed at a few “troublemakers” and will bring stability in the island. 

The development came at a time when the relationship between US-China has been deteriorating at many fronts, with the ongoing trade war, China originated COVID-19 pandemic as well as China’s Human rights violations and the imposition of the controversial new security law in Hong Kong among others.

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