HKSAR govt condemns US move to suspend agreements, including extradition treaty, rejects being used as pawn

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/20 14:07:26

The street view of Hong Kong Photo: VCG

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government has strongly condemned the US decision to suspend or terminate three bilateral agreements, including the extradition treaty with the city, which is widely seen as a move to create trouble in China-US ties, using Hong Kong as a pawn.

As part of the so-called "ongoing implementation measures" following the US President's Executive Order issued on July 14, the US Department of State announced Wednesday the suspension or termination of three bilateral agreements signed between the HKSAR and US governments, namely the Agreement on the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders (SFO), the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (TSP) Agreement and the Agreement concerning Tax Exemptions from the Income Derived from the International Operation of Ships.

Contrary to what was alleged in the US President's Executive Order, these agreements are not US preferential treatment for Hong Kong, but bilateral agreements negotiated in good faith to benefit the peoples and businesses of both sides in the fields of law and order, shipping and tax treatment, said a spokesman from the HKSAR government.

The US' unilateral decision reflects its disrespect for bilateralism and multilateralism under the current administration and should be condemned by the international community, the spokesman said, stressing that the US is using Hong Kong as a pawn against China's central government. 

On August 7, the US government imposed "sanctions" against 11 officials of the Central People's Government and the HKSAR government, which expressed strong opposition to the move. 

Since the crimes committed by fugitive offenders are mostly of a serious nature, such as fraud, drug trafficking, murder, sexual offences, money laundering, corruption and theft, suspension of the SFO agreement will only allow such criminals to evade legal sanctions and thus fail to uphold justice for their victims. As such, the US will need to be answerable to the rule of law, both to the American people and to the international community at large, the spokesman said. 

The spokesman stressed that the HKSAR has established a comprehensive cooperation regime for the surrender of fugitives. The HKSAR government will continue to uphold the principle of mutual assistance and reciprocity, and carry out law enforcement cooperation with other members of the international community in accordance with the law.

The spokesman pointed out that the HKSAR is an inalienable part of China and a local administrative region which enjoys a high degree of autonomy under "one country, two systems" and comes directly under the Central People's Government. 

We urge the US to immediately stop interfering in HKSAR's internal affairs, and retract its baseless allegations against the national security law for HKSAR. We need to solemnly point out that the legislation preserves the principle of "one country, two systems" and restores much needed stability to the HKSAR, especially after the social chaos and violence that had taken place in Hong Kong in 2019, the spokesman said.


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