The US State Department halted its extradition treaty with Hong Kong on Wednesday, in the latest sign of deteriorating US-China relations in the weeks since Beijing imposed a national security law on Hong Kong.
The treaty was one of three US bilateral agreements with Hong Kong that the Trump administration announced it was suspending.
“These agreements covered the surrender of fugitive offenders, the transfer of sentenced persons, and reciprocal tax exemptions on income derived from the international operation of ships,” said Morgan Ortagus, the State Department spokeswoman.
The State Department said the move was pursuant to President Donald Trump’s July 14 executive order, which declared that Hong Kong was “no longer sufficiently autonomous to justify differential treatment in relation to the People’s Republic of China” because of the national security law.
“These steps underscore our deep concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose the national security law, which has crushed the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong,” Ortagus said.
Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, France and Britain have also suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong in recent weeks.
The State Department announcement also comes less than two weeks after the Trump administration issued economic sanctions on Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, along with 10 other current and former Chinese officials.
The sanctions, which were also tied to the national security law, are designed to cut Lam and the other officials out of the US financial system.
The national security law allows for people accused of certain crimes to be prosecuted in mainland China, where the courts are controlled by the ruling Communist Party.
The crimes, which are not defined clearly in the law, are described as “secession”, “subversion”, “terrorist activities” and “collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security”.
Beijing says the law can apply to anyone, anywhere in the world.