Perhaps much belatedly, but hugely significant following Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, France and Britain doing the same, the US on Wednesday formally halted its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in protest of Beijing's previously imposed national security law and amid soaring tensions with China more broadly.
The US State Department announced that it's part of a total of three US bilateral agreements with Hong Kong being permanently dropped.
“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,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
The Chinese Communist Party chose to crush the freedoms and autonomy of the people of Hong Kong. Because of the CCP’s actions, we are terminating or suspending three of our bilateral agreements with the territory.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 19, 2020
In characteristic fashion Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a more bellicose statement via Twitter, underscoring that it's because "The Chinese Communist Party chose to crush the freedoms and autonomy of the people of Hong Kong."
The move is pursuant to President Donald Trump’s July 14 executive order, the statements added, which deemed Hong Kong “no longer sufficiently autonomous to justify differential treatment in relation to the People's Republic of China” due to the sweeping new law that has effectively stifled organized street protests and dissent.
Already multiple arrests have been made for mere social media posts, which can potentially bring severe lengthy prison sentences under the law, and a number of high profile young activists have fled, fearing imprisonment for past statements and continued pro-independence activism, which the law can easily interpret as "terrorism".
Less than two weeks ago the US administration slapped economic sanctions on Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam along with ten other top officials seen as integral to the mainland's efforts at cracking down on dissent in the semi-autonomous city state.