Statement from the Foreign Secretary: Hong Kong Extradition Laws

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Saracen's Fez
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Statement from the Foreign Secretary: Hong Kong Extradition Laws
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office notes that the Hong Kong government has recently proposed changes to its extradition laws to make it possible for fugitives to be extradited from Hong Kong to mainland China, following a high-profile murder case that happened in Taiwan.

The Office further notes that the Taiwanese autonomous government has already rejected the proposal, meaning the changes would not allow the alleged murderer, currently in custody in Hong Kong, to be sent to Taiwan for a murder trial. Furthermore, as Taiwan has the death penalty whilst Hong Kong does not, it would have been international standard to not process any extradition request.

Our ally the United States of America has already voiced their opposition out of fear not only for their trade interests - especially regarding their United States-Hong Kong Act - but also for the safety of their nationals residing or transiting in Hong Kong.

For the United Kingdom, we have similar concerns. At the moment, there are almost 35,000 British citizens living in Hong Kong, including the president of their Legislative Council, The Hon Andrew Leung. Apart from that, Hong Kong receives a projected 70 million tourists annually, many of them British. In addition, Hong Kong still has more than 2 million British nationals. It is clear that we have a huge stake in safeguarding the systems in Hong Kong, even before taking into account of the Anglo-Sino Joint Declaration, which gave us the responsibility to monitor Hong Kong until 2047.

Needless to say, the proposed change likewise threatens the security of British businesses. As an international financial centre, Hong Kong has very close connections to British corporations. One of our largest banks, the HSBC, even bears Hong Kong in its name. A legal way for mainland China to not only arrest, but extradite people from Hong Kong to be tried in mainland China is extremely worrisome for our businesses.

On top of that, China seemingly already has a history of prosecuting British citizens. In 2018, British citizen Mr Victor Mallet had his visa renewal application rejected without cause after his club refused to no-platform Hong Kong's independence activist British national Mr Andy Chan. In 2015, British citizen Mr Paul Lee was quietly mysteriously taken from Hong Kong to mainland China, and the Chinese government refused to allow our diplomats to visit or help said citizen detained in China. They claimed that Mr Lee was "first and foremost" a Chinese citizen, despite the fact that Chinese law states that anyone who acquires a foreign citizenship would have automatically renounced their Chinese one. In 2014, China blocked a visit to Hong Kong from our then-members of parliament, including British citizen Sir Richard Ottaway, our former Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. With a history such as this, and especially the fact that our Office, even with the support of the European Union and the United States of America, was not able to aid our nationals in any way, was extraordinarily alarming.

In short, we at the Foreign Office are immensely anxious over the proposed change, even without taking into account of the opposition locally, as it could severely impacts Hong Kong's standing as a global destination for business and tourism, and potentially affects the rights and freedom of 2-3 million British nationals. We urge the Hong Kong government to reconsider its proposal, which would not even serve its stated purpose regarding the murder case in Taiwan, or we may follow others in considering the issuance of a travel warning, and to reevaluate our judgment of the operation of the "one country, two systems" policy in our annual report.
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Aph
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Maybe I’m missing something but what exactly is the problem? You talk about extradition to mainland China then complain about Taiwan...
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by Aph)
Maybe I’m missing something but what exactly is the problem? You talk about extradition to mainland China then complain about Taiwan...
And let us not forget that this government is against intervening in the affairs of foreign states, apart from when it isn't.
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El Salvador
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(Original post by Aph)
Maybe I’m missing something but what exactly is the problem? You talk about extradition to mainland China then complain about Taiwan...
I didn't complain about Taiwan.

The excuse for making the change is a murder case that happened in Taiwan. The Hong Kong government then claims to want to fix the colonial era loophole to make extradition possible. Instead of simply changing the law to make extradition to Taiwan ordinary (it's currently possible in extraordinary situations according to Taiwanese officials), the Hong Kong government is proposing to make it also legally possible to extradite anyone to mainland China.
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El Salvador
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
And let us not forget that this government is against intervening in the affairs of foreign states, apart from when it isn't.
Do you have an actual argument against this or did you simply miss the part where UK's responsibility to Hong Kong does not end until 2047 (which is in the future) as well as the fact that this is going to affect 2 to 3 million British nationals our missions overseas would not be able to help in any way, judging by the recent history?
Last edited by El Salvador; 1 year ago
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Themysticalegg
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(Original post by The Champion.m4a)
Do you have an actual argument against this or did you simply miss the part where UK's responsibility to Hong Kong does not end until 2047 (which is in the future) as well as the fact that this is going to affect 2 to 3 million British nationals our missions overseas would not be able to help in any way, judging by the recent history?
I honestly don’t think China cares about the agreement they know the U.K. can’t do much about it.... nor do we have the power really.
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El Salvador
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(Original post by Themysticalegg)
I honestly don’t think China cares about the agreement they know the U.K. can’t do much about it.... nor do we have the power really.
I already laid out what the Foreign Office would do. Just because our power and influence are limited doesn't mean we should just let everything slide. That'd be like saying since our previous attempts to aid British citizens allegedly kidnapped by the Chinese government against the freedom of publication, we should just probably close the consulates down since it's pointless to even try,
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by The Champion.m4a)
Do you have an actual argument against this or did you simply miss the part where UK's responsibility to Hong Kong does not end until 2047 (which is in the future) as well as the fact that this is going to affect 2 to 3 million British nationals our missions overseas would not be able to help in any way, judging by the recent history?
The fact is that no action is really being taken, this is a statement that simply goes "ooo, we don't like that, maybe do something else" with no threat of action if the changes are not made, we all know how China operates when it comes to Hong Kong and we know that any complaints will fall on deaf ears because Hong Kong is de facto run from Beijing. Is the government actually going to do anything other than state it isn't a fan of what's happening, is this Venezuela all over again (that's gone well, hasn't it)?
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04MR17
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TL;DR...

Bad things happening in Hong Kong with a government proposal to extradite people to mainland China.

UK has lots of people and interest in HK.

The Foreign office says... "ooh this is bad. If you don't change your mind, we'll be very cross. And we might even advise people to think twice before visiting you." Only might, though.
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El Salvador
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
The fact is that no action is really being taken, this is a statement that simply goes "ooo, we don't like that, maybe do something else" with no threat of action if the changes are not made, we all know how China operates when it comes to Hong Kong and we know that any complaints will fall on deaf ears because Hong Kong is de facto run from Beijing. Is the government actually going to do anything other than state it isn't a fan of what's happening, is this Venezuela all over again (that's gone well, hasn't it)?
President Guiadó is reportedly seeking military support from the United States of America, His did not contact us for that.

The harm to Hong Kong's business and tourism sectors will happen with little input from us. I'm not sure what you are proposing - are you saying we should declare the joint declaration violated and take back Hong Kong with NATO support? Travel warnings do actually work, depending on the level we would be issuing, as certain travel insurances wouldn't work with a travelling warning in effect.
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El Salvador
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Earlier, the Hong Kong Security Bureau has revealed that the proposed change would enable the Hong Kong government to freeze assets in Hong Kong with a request from the Chinese government. This has made the proposed changes more alarming than ever before.

Many businesses have already expressed concerns, with some businessmen increasingly anxious about it, with a Hong Kong billionaire already washing his hands off 98% of his corporal assets.

We urge the Hong Kong government to reconsider such unpopular proposal, as we at the Foreign Office legitimately fear for the safety of British nationals as well as theirs and British companies' assets in Hong Kong.
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Saracen's Fez
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Debate on this statement has concluded.
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