HONG KONG: Ireland has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in the wake of national security legislation that Beijing imposed on the former British colony in June.
China implemented the sweeping legislation despite protests from the Hong Kong people, Western nations and international human rights groups, paving the way for a more authoritarian track for the global financial hub.
The suspension follows a similar move by Finland this month, as well as by Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Britain soon after the law was enacted. US President Donald Trump has ended preferential economic treatment for Hong Kong.
Speaking to the Irish parliament this week, Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said the law, which punishes what Beijing broadly defines as secession, subversion, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces with up to life in jail, had been adopted without any meaningful consultation.
"This decision ... clearly signals Ireland's concerns in relation to the rule of law in Hong Kong and the erosion of judicial independence promised under the 'one country, two systems' principle," Coveney said, adding that Ireland would continue to raise concerns with Beijing.
China kept full details of the bill secret until just before it was passed, and even Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed leader, Carrie Lam, said she had not been privy to it, although she nevertheless said most people had no reason to worry.
Beijing says the law is necessary to tackle unrest following anti-government protests last year that plunged the city into its biggest crisis in decades.