On July 14th, 2020, the United States announced the suspension or termination of three bilateral agreements with Hong Kong. This decision comes after China imposed a new national security law on Hong Kong that the U.S. government believes infringes on the region`s autonomy and freedoms.
The three agreements in question are the U.S.-Hong Kong extradition treaty, the U.S.-Hong Kong Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement (MLAA), and the U.S.-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992. These agreements allowed for cooperation between the United States and Hong Kong on legal matters, including the extradition of fugitives and the sharing of law enforcement information.
The suspension of the extradition treaty means that Hong Kong will no longer be able to request the extradition of individuals wanted for crimes in the United States, and vice versa. The MLAA allowed for the sharing of evidence and information in criminal investigations, while the Policy Act provided Hong Kong with special trade and economic privileges.
The decision to suspend or terminate these agreements sends a clear message to China that the United States will not tolerate the erosion of Hong Kong`s autonomy and freedoms. The national security law that prompted this response from the U.S. government has been criticized for its broad interpretation of what constitutes a national security threat and the potential for abuse by Chinese authorities.
The suspension or termination of these agreements could have significant implications for businesses and individuals operating in Hong Kong. It could also impact the extradition of high-profile fugitives, such as the case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who is currently fighting extradition to the United States from Canada.
It remains to be seen how China will respond to this decision from the United States. The Chinese government has already threatened retaliation, raising concerns about further escalation of tensions between the world`s two largest economies.
In conclusion, the suspension or termination of these three bilateral agreements with Hong Kong is a significant and symbolic step by the United States in response to China`s new national security law. It underscores the importance of protecting Hong Kong`s autonomy and freedoms, and the U.S. commitment to doing so. However, it could have far-reaching consequences both for businesses and individuals in Hong Kong and for U.S.-China relations.