New Zealand has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, saying it can no longer trust that the city’s justice system is independent of China.
Foreign Minister Winston Peters issued a statement on Tuesday, saying New Zealand would also change how it controls the trade of sensitive goods – such as military technology or “dual-use” goods which could have military applications – with Hong Kong.
The suspension of an extradition treaty means New Zealand will no longer agree to deport any person to Hong Kong, if charged with a serious crime.
Foreign affairs officials had been reviewing New Zealand’s relationship with Hong Kong, after Beijing imposed a security law on the city which has been widely condemned for cracking down on democracy in the city and compromising a “one country, two systems” arrangement.
This is a reasonable and proportionate move. If Hong Kong is losing its independent judicial system, we shouldn’t automatically accept extradition requests from them.
For many years China was liberalising both its economy but also the country as a whole. But it is clear that in the past few years it is now becoming more authoritarian.
When China was heading in the right direction, engaging more with it was sensible. Now it is heading in the wrong direction, we should be more cautious.
If we really want to send China a message, the four universities that have China funded Confucius Institutes should decline to renew the agreements.