Hong Kong has suspended its extradition agreements with Germany and France. The two countries have “politicised legal cooperation” and thus damaged the basis for cooperation in this area, the Hong Kong government said.
In response to inquiries by SPIEGEL, the Federal Foreign Office confirmed that the Hong Kong government had informed Berlin of the move, and that the two EU states had previously put their extradition agreements with Hong Kong on ice because of the controversial security law for the Chinese Special Administrative Region. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) had justified the decision at the end of July by citing the postponement of the parliamentary elections, the exclusion of opposition candidates from the vote and the arrest of activists on the basis of the new security law.
China has long been the subject of international criticism because of its so-called security law. It is directed against activities that Beijing regards as subversive, separatist or terrorist. It is also intended to punish “collusion” with forces abroad. It is feared that the principle of “one country, two systems”, according to which the former British crown colony has been administered autonomously and with rights of freedom since its return to China in 1997, is coming to an end.
The law also calls into question the independence of the judicial system. This is why the USA, Canada and Great Britain, among others, have already suspended their extradition agreements with Hong Kong and extended arms embargoes applicable to China to Hong Kong.
Most recently, the media entrepreneur and well-known activist Jimmy Lai was arrested on the basis of the so-called security law. After more than 40 hours of police custody, Lai was released on bail during the night of Wednesday. Lai, who owns the pro-democracy newspaper “Apple Daily”, was arrested together with other activists during a major police operation on Monday. The 71-year-old was charged with secret agreements with forces abroad, fraud and other violations. Last year, Lai had repeatedly called for participation in protest marches against Beijing. Hundreds of thousands of people were on the streets.
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