Will New Extradition Rules in Hong Kong Pave the Way for Abuses by China?

Will New Extradition Rules in Hong Kong Pave the Way for Abuses by China?
Pro-democracy lawmaker Gary Fan displays a sign reading “Withdraw bad law” to protest the extradition law during a Legislative Council session, Hong Kong, April 3, 2019 (AP photo by Vincent Yu).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China.

Hong Kong’s government introduced revised extradition legislation last Wednesday, going ahead with plans to ease the handover of fugitives to jurisdictions that it does not have extradition treaties with, including China, Taiwan and Macau. Human rights groups and lawyers’ associations in Hong Kong have protested the move, saying that Beijing could use extradition as a weapon against political dissidents or anyone else its justice system deems criminal.

Mainland China was deliberately excluded from Hong Kong’s 1997 extradition law, passed shortly before the former British colony was handed over to China. That decision was made due to a “fundamentally different criminal justice system operating in the mainland and concerns over the mainland’s record on the protection of fundamental rights,” according to the Hong Kong Bar Association. Since the handover, China has exercised sovereignty over Hong Kong under the “one country, two systems” arrangement, which is meant to ensure the territory’s autonomy from Beijing until 2047.

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