Australia suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong, extends visas; China threatens retaliation

Australia ends Hong Kong extradition treaty extends visas

Around 10,000 Hong Kong citizens and residents are now in Australia on student visas or temporary work visas, according to government estimates.

"There will be citizens of Hong Kong who may be looking to move elsewhere, to start a new life somewhere else, to take their skills, their businesses", said Morrison, NDTV noted.

China's parliament adopted the security law in response to protests previous year triggered by fears Beijing was stifling the city's freedoms and threatening its judicial independence, guaranteed by a "one country, two systems" formula agreed when it returned to China.

The programme was also offered to Hong Kong entrepreneurs or skilled workers who wish to relocate to Australia in the future.

China has accused Australia of interfering in its affairs after Canberra offered safe haven to Hong Kong residents and strengthened travel warnings.

Australia will reopen the visa application centre in Hong Kong, which was closed at the beginning of the COVID-19 period.

It urged Australian nationals to "reconsider your need to remain in Hong Kong" if they have concerns about the new law.

China on Thursday said it strongly deplores and opposes the groundless accusations and measures announced by the Australian government with regard to Hong Kong, calling them a serious violation of worldwide law and basic norms governing global relations and gross interference in China's internal affairs. Winston Peters, New Zealand's foreign minister, later said the country was reviewing all its "relationship settings" with Hong Kong.

Morrison said the extradition pact was being suspended because the security legislation represents "a fundamental change in circumstance".

Canada is not considering immediate sanctions against China over its treatment of Hong Kong and does not want to escalate a dispute between the two nations, a Canadian government source said on Thursday.

Australia had negotiated an extradition treaty with China, but shelved it in 2017 when it became clear that the Australian Senate would vote it down.

The social-media companies say they are assessing implications of the security law, which prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in the city's internal affairs.

In response, Britain said it would offer Hong Kong residents a new path to British citizenship, in a move that could affect more than three million people living in the territory.

"You might be at heightened risk of detention on vaguely defined national security reasons", the advisory stated.

The move comes following China jumped Hong Kong's Legislative Council to inflict the sweeping safety laws without public inspection. "You may break the law without even planning to". "Under the law, you could be deported or face possible transfer to mainland China for prosecution under mainland law".

Hong Kong is a former British colony and was handed back again to China in 1997.

The government was keen to attract "footloose businesses and industries" from Hong Kong.



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