News and Commentary

China Bans Everyone On Earth From Promoting Hong Kong Democracy, Expert Says. China Has Extradition Pacts With Dozens Of Nations.
HONG KONG, CHINA - 2020/07/01: Riot police officers pinning down a protester during the demonstration. Following the passing of the National Security Law that would tighten on freedom of expression, Hong Kong protesters marched on the streets to demonstrate. Protesters chanted slogans, sang songs, and obstructed roads. Later, riot police officers arrested several protesters using paintballs and pepper spray.
Willie Siau/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

China’s new draconian national security law for Hong Kong reportedly contains a section that bans every person on earth from advocating for Hong Kong’s democracy, which some have suggested raises concerns about extradition pacts China and Hong Kong have with other nations.

“China has long sought to crush organized dissent abroad through quiet threats and coercion,” Axios reported. “Now it has codified that practice into law — potentially forcing people and companies around the world to choose between speaking freely and ever stepping foot in Hong Kong again.”

Axios noted that Article 38 of the national security law states that it applies to those who commit the offenses against the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region “from outside the Region by a person who is not a permanent resident of the Region.”

Wang Minyao, a Chinese-American lawyer based in New York, told Axios, “It literally applies to every single person on the planet. This is how it reads. If I appear at a congressional committee in D.C. and say something critical, that literally would be a violation of this law.”

Reporter Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, who is an expert on China and the author of Axios’ report, noted, “This means that anyone advocating democracy in Hong Kong, or criticizing the governments in Hong Kong or Beijing, could potentially face consequences if they step foot in Hong Kong, or have assets or family members in Hong Kong.”

Allen-Ebrahimian also raised the concern that Hong Kong authorities “may begin to detain or arrest people of any nationality upon entry to Hong Kong for their actions or speech elsewhere — or even issue extradition requests for major targets.”

Taiwan News reports that a total of 52 countries have signed extradition agreements with China or Hong Kong. Some of the countries that have extradition agreements with Hong Kong include the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Germany, India, and others.

“China has signed extradition accords with 55 countries, but 16 are not valid yet,” Taiwan News added.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that a group of international lawmakers are calling on Western nations to end their extradition treaties with China in response to the new security law.

“The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), a bloc of legislators formed in June to coordinate an approach by democracies towards China, urged member countries to suspend their extradition agreements with Hong Kong after the national security legislation had ‘severely undermined the rule of law,'” SCMP reported. “Effective since last Tuesday, the law criminalised acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces in Hong Kong with punishment of up to life in prison.”

The group’s 16 co-chairs “committed to coordinate efforts to ensure that no one has to face extradition to Hong Kong, where the rule of law is severely compromised following the imposition of the so-called national security law.”

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