Tuesday, July 28, 2020

No extradition to tyrannies

Last month, China imposed a new "national security law" on Hong Kong. The law imposes a penalty of life imprisonment for secession, subversion, and "colluding with foreign forces" - which basicly means peacefully advocating for democracy or independence. It has been used to crush peaceful protests and interpreted by the government as outlawing attempting to win democratic elections. In other words, it effectively ends Hong Kong's already limited democracy.

Oh, and its extraterritorial, applying to anyone in the world. People in New Zealand who support Hong Kong independence, or just the right of all peoples to peacefully and democraticly determine their futures, are now criminals in China. And the Chinese regime could seek their extradition, because we have an extradition treaty with Hong Kong (we don't have one with China, for obvious reasons: its a tyranny, with the death penalty and no legal protections for the accused. Hong Kong's courts were, until last month, independent).

So I'm glad to hear that that treaty has now been suspended. It is inappropriate to extradite to tyrannies. And thanks to China's actions, Hong Kong now falls into that category. Unfortunately, this means that people who have committed non-political crimes may escape justice. But that's the price you pay for being a tyranny, I guess.

China will no doubt get shitty about this and punish us. But that's the price of having principles. And democracy and the rule of law are not principles New Zealanders are generally willing to surrender.