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On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canada was suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong due to the law. It was a law in which Canada’s foreign minister called the legislation “a significant step back” for liberty. In Canada’s capital, Ottawa, the Chinese embassy delivered a statement on its website and it mentioned that Canada had “grossly interfered” in Chinese affairs.
It goes on to mention how the new legislation would safeguard security in Hong Kong.
“Some western countries including Canada have been meddling in Hong Kong affairs under the pretext of human rights, which seriously violates international law and basic norms of international relations,” a spokesperson said in the statement.
China imposed the legislation this week despite protests by Hong Kongers and criticism from Western nations.
The main criticism from Western analysts was that they saw the legislation as setting the financial hub on an authoritarian track.
Hong Kong officials said on Saturday they were “very disappointed” in Canada’s suspension of the extradition treaty.
The Prime Minister’s office had officials referring to a statement on Friday addressing how the Foreign minister had reinforced Canada’s “serious concern” with the law.
The government had no further comment, he said.
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Relations between Beijing and Ottawa have been tense since 2018 when Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co [HWT.UL], on a U.S. warrant.
After Meng was detained, China arrested Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a businessman, on charges of espionage.
China also rebuked Canada a week ago over Ottawa’s criticism about the prosecution of the Canadians.
The new legislation in Hong Kong was passed last week.
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With the idea being that with these new powers, China would be able to implement an agency to take over some cases and operate in the city without falling under local jurisdiction.
The full text of the legal document was released on Tuesday night and was a six-chapter (66 articles) full draft of the controversial legislation.
The full text was released only after it became effective in the city amid widespread concerns about its implications, despite official reassurances that only a small minority would be targeted.
It lists four categories of offences:
Secession – breaking away from the country
Subversion – undermining the power or authority of the central government
Terrorism – using violence or intimidation against people
Collusion with foreign or external forces or external elements to endanger national security.
Although the suggested sentence for some minor offences is less than three years’ in jail, the maximum penalty for each crime is life imprisonment.
However, some suspects can also be extradited to mainland China, but only for cases that involve “complicated situations”.
This is usually to do with interference by foreign forces; cases in which the local government cannot effectively enforce the law and ones where national security is under “serious and realistic threats”.
For those cases in which Beijing exercises jurisdiction, a mainland agency that will be established in Hong Kong to enforce national security will carry out investigations and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate will assign authorities to lead the prosecution.
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