France halts ratification of extradition treaty with Hong Kong

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 04 2020 02:40 AM

Police officers clash with protesters at a Hong Kong shopping mall on July 1, 2020. The Chinese government has used the national security law to crush Hong Kong’s pro-democracy opposition with a ferocity that has surprised even some pro-Beijing officials in the territory. Lam Yik Fei, The New York Times/file

France on Monday said it was halting ratification of an extradition treaty with Hong Kong after Beijing introduced a controversial new security law in the former British colony.

"In light of the latest developments, France will not proceed as it stands with the ratification of the extradition agreement signed on May 4, 2017 between France and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region," the French foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry bitterly criticised the new security law, saying it called into question the principle of "'one country, two systems'... and the fundamental freedoms that result from it."

"This law also directly affects our citizens and our businesses," it added.

The introduction of the security law has raised new tensions between China and the West, compounding existing strains over the treatment of the Uighur minority and the behaviour of telecoms giant Huawei.

Britain last month suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong "immediately and indefinitely" in response to the new law while Germany suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong over the decision to push back local elections by a year.