Australia has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and renewed visas for Hong Kong residents in response to China`s imposition of a strict national security law on the semi-autonomous territory, the prime minister said on Thursday. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday that the National Security Act was „a fundamental change in the circumstances of our extradition agreement with Hong Kong“ and that Australia had formally communicated the decision to Hong Kong and the Chinese authorities. Since the law was passed last week, Canada has also suspended its extradition treaty, while the United Kingdom has offered citizenship options to Hong Kong residents. Australia has suspended its extradition agreement with Hong Kong over fears of a new national security law imposed by China. The three countries had suspended all extradition agreements with Hong Kong this month following Beijing`s adoption of a new security law that criminalizes many forms of political disagreement. The treaty contains most of the usual protection against persons extradited to China, where their human rights would be violated. But a major omission is the guarantee that extradition would not be allowed if it were „unfair or oppressive.“ The treaty contains a reason for denying an extradition request if the extradition was at issue: the decision not to conduct the extradition treaty creates an abnormal situation in which Australia does not have bilateral extradition agreements with its largest bilateral trading partner for goods and services. The two-way movement of students, tourists and businessmen is very important. It is inevitable that situations in which a valid extradition request can be made either by Australia or by China. „With every extradition agreement, there must be trust between the two legal systems,“ Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at a press conference in Canberra, the capital, as ABC News reported. It is assumed that the announcement will affect a decades-long agreement that will facilitate basic police cooperation between Australia and Hong Kong, although it is not certain that an Australian federal police office will be able to stop its activities in the city. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the law introduced last week in Hong Kong was a fundamental change in circumstances and that Australia would suspend the extradition agreement.
China has suspended Hong Kong`s extradition agreements with Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom as part of a „for Tat“ initiative after china made similar decisions on its controversial new security law. Britain suspended its extradition treaty last week following actions by Australia and Canada and said the security law had „significantly changed key assumptions,“ including a provision to try certain cases in mainland China. The federal government announced today that it will not continue to ratify an extradition agreement with China. This followed strong signs that the Senate would prevent it from coming into force. „Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom have unilaterally announced the suspension of their extradition agreements signed with Hong Kong, which have massively interfered in China`s domestic affairs and seriously violated international law and fundamental norms of international relations,“ Wang said. „That is why China has decided to suspend Hong Kong`s extradition agreements and mutual criminal assistance agreements with Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.“ On Tuesday, China`s Foreign Ministry said Hong Kong was halting criminal aid agreements, including extradition, and accused them of „politicizing judicial cooperation.“ Canada, Australia and Britain have cancelled extradition agreements with the semi-autonomous territory after Beijing passed a comprehensive national security law, which critics fear could be used against opponents of the government.