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China suspends HK-NZ fugitive deal

(China Daily)    08:46, August 04, 2020

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin. [Photo/fmprc.gov.cn]

China has decided to suspend the agreement on surrendering fugitive offenders and the agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters between its Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and New Zealand, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin announced on Monday.

The decision came in response to New Zealand's prior and unilateral suspension of the agreement on surrendering fugitive offenders, according to Wang.

By using China's passage of the Hong Kong National Security Law as an excuse to suspend the agreement, New Zealand has politicized its legal cooperation with Hong Kong, brutally interfered in China's domestic affairs and seriously violated international law and the basic norms guiding international relations, Wang said at a daily news conference.

New Zealand's moves have also seriously undermined the foundation of its legal cooperation with Hong Kong, and they deviate from the purpose of legal cooperation, which is to uphold justice and the rule of law, Wang added.

China's announcement to suspend the agreements came about a week after it suspended similar agreements between Hong Kong and Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Wang also said on Monday that the SAR government's decision to postpone the election of the city's Legislative Council is reasonable and lawful.

Facing a serious situation of COVID-19, the postponement is just and necessary, as it helps to protect the health of Hong Kong residents and guarantee the security, justice and fairness of the council's election, Wang said.

There is no lack of precedents around the world of elections postponed due to disasters, such as epidemics, he said, adding that the SAR government's decision has followed such a convention.

"Hong Kong is China's special administrative region, and the election of its Legislative Council is a local election in China. It's purely Hong Kong's internal affair, and no foreign governments, organizations or persons have a right or reason to interfere in it," Wang said.

Xinjiang issue

China firmly opposes and strongly condemns the United States' announcement to impose sanctions on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and two Chinese officials, as well as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's attacks on China's policies in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Wang said on Monday.

Xinjiang-related issues are not about human rights, ethnic groups or religion, but about anti-terrorism and anti-separatism.

The US accusations are "totally libelous", Wang said, urging it to revoke its erroneous decision immediately.

"China is sure to firmly react if the US persists in acting recklessly," he said.

Wang said that the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps has made important contributions to the development of Xinjiang, unity among different ethnic groups, maintaining social stability and strengthening China's border defenses.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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