Germany has suspended its extradition agreement with Hong Kong, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said, following other Western countries in a move that reflected widespread concern over Beijing’s national security law in the city.
Maas made the statement on Friday, on the same day Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam postponed a September 6 election of the city’s legislature by a year, and put independence activist Ray Wong Toi-yeung – who has been granted asylum status by German authorities – on a wanted person’s list over national security offences.
“The Hong Kong government’s decision to disqualify a dozen opposition candidates for the election and postpone the elections to the legislature is another infringement on the rights of the citizens of Hong Kong,” Maas said.
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“We have repeatedly made our expectation clear that China lives up to its legal responsibilities under international law,” he said, adding that included ensuring rights under the Basic Law as well as the right to free and fair elections.
Germany’s intervention came as Chancellor Angela Merkel was criticised by Hong Kong’s advocates and some German politicians for remaining silent on China’s move, as Berlin sought to clinch a significant investment agreement with Beijing within this year.
The decision from Berlin came after the European Union called on member states to review extradition arrangements with Hong Kong.
Wong said he felt relieved by Germany’s move.
“Shortly before they made the announcement the German foreign ministry was in touch with me. They reassured me they would definitely not deport me to Hong Kong,” he told the Post.
“I’m very pleased they decided to put human rights before economic benefits [through trading with China].”
The UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have already suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong.
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