NZ suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong, after China passes controversial law

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced New Zealand is suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

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The controversial Chinese policy change is a violation of the ‘one country, two systems’ framework, Winston Peters said. Source: 1 NEWS

He also said the Government is making a number of other changes in light of China’s decision to pass a national security law for Hong Kong.

“China’s passage of its new national security legislation has eroded rule-of-law principles, undermined the ‘one country, two systems’ framework that underpins Hong Kong’s unique status, and gone against commitments China made to the international community,” Mr Peters said.

He said New Zealand remains "deeply concerned" at the imposition of the legislation.

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Foreign secretary Dominic Raab says the extradition treaty’s been “immediately and indefinitely” halted. Source: Breakfast

“New Zealand can no longer trust that Hong Kong’s criminal justice system is sufficiently independent from China. If China in future shows adherence to the ‘one country, two systems’ framework then we could reconsider this decision.”

The 'one country, two systems' policy, granting Hong Kong a high level of autonomy from China for 50 years, was a condition of the United Kingdom handing over power of the territory to China in 1997. 

Mr Peters said New Zealand's review of its overall relationship with Hong Kong was ongoing and the situation over there will be monitored as the law is applied. However, he announced two additional changes this morning. 

“Firstly, we are changing how we treat the export of sensitive goods to Hong Kong. From now on, we will treat military and dual-use goods and technology exports to Hong Kong in the same way as we treat those exports to China.

"Secondly, we have updated our travel advice to alert New Zealanders to the risks presented by the National Security Law.”

The move follows Britain suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and blocking arms sales to the former British territory last week.

The law makes secessionist, subversive, or terrorist activities illegal, as well as foreign intervention in the city's internal affairs. It was imposed by China after months of anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous territory last year.

A spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand told 1 NEWS the Government's decision was "a serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations" and asked it to stop interfering in China's "internal affairs" so as to not further harm relations between the countries.

"Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. Hong Kong affairs are entirely China's internal affairs, and allow no foreign interference."

The spokesperson said implementing the national security law in Hong Kong "is an important step to ensure the steady and sustained implementation of the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle".

"Any attempt to pressure China on the issue of Hong Kong will not succeed."