Britain’s government suspended its extradition arrangements with Hong Kong on Monday, after China imposed a tough new national security law.
As tensions grow with Beijing, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he had concerns about the new law and about alleged human rights abuses in China in particularly in regard to the treatment of the Uighur minority. An arms embargo on China will be extended to Hong Kong, he said.
“We will protect our vital interests,” Raab said. “We will stand up for our values and we will hold to China to its international obligations.”
Raab followed the example of the United States, Australia and Canada by suspending extradition arrangements with the territory. The review of the extradition measures comes only days after Britain backtracked on plans to give Chinese telecommunications company Huawei a role in the UK’s new high-speed mobile phone network amid security concerns fueled by rising tensions between Beijing and Western powers.
Johnson’s government has already criticised China’s decision to impose a sweeping new national security law on Hong Kong.
The UK has accused the Beijing government of a serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration under which the UK returned control of Hong Kong to China in 1997, and announced it would open a special route to citizenship for up to 3 million eligible residents of the community.
Beijing has objected to the move. China’s ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming, recently described the offer as gross interference in Chinese affairs.
Liu told the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday that Britain was dancing to the tune of the U.S. and rejected the allegations of human rights abuses against the mainly-Muslim Uighur people. He accused Western countries of trying to foment trouble with China.
“People say China (is) becoming very aggressive. That’s totally wrong,” he told the BBC China has not changed. It’s Western countries, headed by United States they started this so-called new Cold War on China.”