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New Zealand to review relationship with Hong Kong after China enforces national security law

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New Zealand has followed in Australia's footsteps as the Government reviews its relationship with Hong Kong amid China's implementation of its tough national security law on the semi-autonomous territory.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said today in a statement that China's decision to pass the controversial new law has "fundamentally changed the environment for international engagement there [in Hong Kong]."

"The Government has directed officials to review all of New Zealand’s policy settings with respect to Hong Kong to determine the appropriate nature of our cooperation going forward," Mr Peters said.

The wide-sweeping review will examine New Zealand's extradition arrangements with Hong Kong, controls on exports of strategic goods and travel advice, he said.

"New Zealand shares the international community’s significant and longstanding stake in Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability. We will continue to monitor the law’s impact on the people of Hong Kong, with whom we share close links."

It comes after Australia today announced the suspension of its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and extended visas for Hong Kong residents in response to the new security law.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a range of visas that will be extended from two to five years and offers of pathways to permanent residency visas. It is not clear how many Hong Kongers are expected to get the extensions.

The move comes after China bypassed Hong Kong’s Legislative Council to impose the sweeping security legislation without public consultation. Critics view it as a further deterioration of freedoms promised to the former British colony.

The national security law prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs. Under the law, police now have sweeping powers to conduct searches without warrants and order internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be in violation of the legislation.

China passes controversial Hong Kong security law which has many citizens fearing for their freedom.

"Our government, together with other governments around the world, have been very consistent in expressing our concerns about the imposition of the national security law on Hong Kong," Morrison told reporters.

“That national security law constitutes a fundamental change of circumstances in respect to our extradition agreement with Hong Kong," Morrison said.

Britain, too, is extending residency rights for up to 3 million Hong Kongers eligible for British National Overseas passports, allowing them to live and work in the UK for five years.

Canada has suspected its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and is looking at other options including migration.

In Australia, the most likely Hong Kongers to benefit from the new policies are the 10,000 already in the country on student and other temporary visas.

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said he expected the numbers of Kong Hongers who would come to Australia under the new arrangements would be “in the hundreds or low thousands.”

Australia last offered “safe haven” visas to Chinese after the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989. More than 27,000 Chinese students in Australia at the time were allowed to stay permanently.

China last week warned Australia against “interfering in China’s internal affairs with Hong Kong."

Global Times, a Chinese Communist Party mouthpieces, this week warned that “no one should underestimate the repercussions to the Australian economy from a further deterioration of bilateral ties.”

“If the Australian government chooses to continue to interfere in China’s internal affairs, it should be expected that the ‘safe haven’ offer will result in a huge negative impact on the Australian economy, making the issue much more serious than many people would have anticipated,” the newspaper said.

Australia had negotiated an extradition treaty with China, but shelved it in 2017 when it became clear that the Australian Senate would vote it down. The separate Hong Kong treaty has been in place since 1993.

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/wor...ter-china-enforces-national-security-law.html
 

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