Boris confirms Britain set to scrap extradition treaty with Hong Kong ramping up China row


BORIS Johnson confirmed this morning the UK is set to scrap the extradition treaty with Hong Kong today as tensions with China reach boiling point.

The Prime Minister said today rules on extraditing people from the UK will change after China imposed tough new national security laws on Hong Kong.

Boris Johnson said the UK would change its rules on extradition with Hong Kong
Dominic Raab is expected to address Parliament today

China is clamping down on its control over Hong Kong

Mr Johnson said while visiting a school in Kent today: “We have concerns about what’shappening in Hong Kong and you’ll be hearing about that later about how we’re going to change extradition laws.

“We have to think about the rights of people in Hong Kong to participate in democratic protests.”

But the PM warned he was “not going to be pushed into a position of being a knee-jerk sinophobe on every issue to do with China.”

He added: “What we won’t do is completely abandon our relationship with China, China is going to be a giant factor in our geopolitics, we’ve got to have a calibrated response.

“We’re going to be tough on some things but also continue to engage (with China) on others.”

The move will follow the US, Australia and Canada scrapping extradition agreements to Hong Kong.

It comes as tensions between the UK and China escalated after the Government banned Huawei – the Chinese Communist party owned telecoms giant – from the 5G network in Britain.

Mr Raab is set to make a statement on the row with China later today and speak about a “range of other measures we might wish to make” in respect of China.

This is expected to include suspending Britain’s extradition to Hong Kong after national security laws mean those sent back could be hauled in front of Chinese courts and jailed in China.

The law prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs.

Pro-democracy leader Nathan Law fled to the UK after the law came into effect this month.

He told HOARday Times he was afraid he may never be allowed to go back to Hong Kong.

A 15-year-old girl waving a pro-democracy flag in Hong Kong on the day the law came into effect was among 10 people arrested under the legislation.

The law grants police massive powers to conduct searches without warrants and order internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be anti-China.

The Government has already taken strong action, offering three million Hongkongers eligible for a British National (Overseas) passport a path to UK citizenship.

But Mr Raab is expected to bring in even tougher measures to emphasise the UK’s opposition to the rule – which the Government claims violated the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

The declaration was supposed to guarantee Hong Kong freedom from Chinese rule under the “one county, two systems” model for 50 years after the handover of the former British colony in 1997.

The Chinese ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming warned Britain not to enter into a “tit-for-tat” confrontation or follow the US in its sanctions on Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses of Uighur muslims in Xinjiang.

Mr Raab played down suggestions sanctions against officials could be brought in under the UK’s new human rights scheme which can impose tough restrictions on abusers – including travel bans.

He insisted that Britain wanted a “positive relationship” with China.

Chair of the defence select commit Tobias Ellwood called for a “reset of our entire foreign policy” to fight back against Chinese aggression.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour programme that Britain had been “duped over the couple of decades” by China and needed to hit back with a firm hand.

He said: “I really want to see a reset of our entire foreign policy, bearing in mind that we are sliding towards a cold war, we can’t do this on our own, we need to work with our allies.”

“We turned a blind eye to what was going on with the Uighur population, we turned a blind eye to the uneven trade situation whereby Chinese companies could operate quite liberally within the UK and elsewhere but our companies couldn’t operate within China and now I think it’s time to say enough is enough.”