Hong Kong officials slam Canada for suspending extradition treaty

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Hong Kong  Canada’s decision to suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong is a political move overriding the rule of law, the citys senior officials said on Saturday.

They added that such a decision was an attempt to interfere in China’s internal affairs after the city’s promulgation of the national security law, reports the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper.

The criticisms came as Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng also said on Saturday that offenders under the new law could be disqualified for life from running for local elections.

China on Tuesday imposed the legislation on Hong Kong that prohibits acts of succession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne announced on Friday that his country would suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

The government will also halt the export of any sensitive military items to the city.

Also on Saturday, Hong Kong Security Minister John Lee expressed his disappointment over the move, saying: “If the Canadian administration allows politics to overrule the rule of law, it must also explain to the world on what grounds could they allow fugitives to go scot-free.”

Meanwhile, Opposition lawmaker James To said the Canadian government’s decision underlined that the new law had threatened the city’s judicial independence, reports the SCMP newspaper.

“The suspension is a very clear signal to the Hong Kong government that our legal system � the independence of our judiciary � is voted upon with no confidence by at least one government, the Canadian government. This is a very serious matter,” he said.

Canada’s moves follow measures taken by the US earlier this week to tighten trade with Hong Kong and stop selling it military equipment.

The UK announced that up to 2.6 million Hong Kong residents will be able to move to the country for up to five years and ultimately seek citizenship.

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