Tensions between the UK and China has escalated over recent weeks after the Communist nation pushed through the controversial Hong Kong security law as the world fight against the deadly coronavirus pandemic. Now Beijing has threatened a “forceful counter-attack” to Britain as the UK suspended its extradition treaty.
Yesterday, the UK suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in protest at the Chinese crackdown in the former British colony.
China has reacted with fury, with a foreign ministry spokesman today warning: “China will make a forceful counter-attack to the UK’s wrong actions.
“China urges the UK to give up its fantasies of continuing colonial influence in Hong Kong and immediately correct its mistakes.”
His comments come after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK government would not consider re-activating the extradition treaty.
China has sent the UK a dire warning over Hong Kong
Dominic Raab suspends extradition treaty
Mr Raab said: “We will not consider re-activating those arrangements, unless and until there are clear and robust safeguards, which are able to prevent extradition from the UK being misused under the new national security legislation.”
He said he would not extend the arms embargo on China to include the former British colony.
This means no exports of weapons or ammunition and a ban on any equipment which might be used for internal repression such as shackles and smoke grenades.
Australia and Canada suspended extradition treaties with Hong Kong earlier this month.
Hundreds of people protested against security law
The former British colony has maintained its autonomy from Beijing since 1997 when the UK handed Hong Kong back to mainland China.
But this year, the Communist nation introduced a new security law viewed as an attempt to end Hong Kong’s independence.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the SOGO shopping centre on June 30 to protest against the new legislation, which criminalises secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference.
At least two people were arrested while protesting the law with police saying they violated the new National Security Law.
Beijing says UK is heading down ‘wrong path’ in human rights row [COMMENT]
China warning: COLD WAR II ‘already started’ – UK defence official [INSIGHT]
China threat: Raab TEARS up key treaty and warns Beijing [REVEAL]
Hong Kong protest timeline
The new law was drafted behind closed doors by members of Beijing’s top lawmaking body, the National People’s Congress (NPC), bypassing Hong Kong’s own elected legislative council.
People who are convicted of such crimes can face sentences up to life in prison.
Mr Johnson has condemned the new security law, which came into effect at the end of June, and said the UK would have no choice but to offer up to three million residents a route to UK citizenship.
Tensions between the UK and China have increased over recent weeks after Mr Johnson ordered Chinese-run mobile phone network Huawei to be banned from the UK from 2027.
Boris Johnson bans Chinese 5G network Huawei
However Andy Barratt, UK managing director of cyber security consultancy Coalfire, warned banning Huawei is short-sighted.
He told the Express.co.uk: “An outright ban of Huawei from the 5G network is short-sighted.
“The UK has taken a very measured approach towards the company’s technology up until now, with a dedicated testing centre and significant oversight of its operations here – something that Huawei is unlikely to continue agreeing to pay for if we further limit its access to the UK market.
“Ultimately, very few will notice the impact when you consider how embedded Huawei and Chinese technology is in other parts of our tech ecosystem.
Huawei will be scrapped from UK by end of 2027
“The ban doesn’t negate the ‘nation-state’ concern of Chinese cyber interference, but it does arguably reduce the number of tools we have to monitor it.
“I have no doubt that removing Huawei from the 5G network will set us back, and I question the actual security benefits of doing so.
“We all need to acknowledge that doing business in a globally connected environment comes with an element of risk.
“We should move to guard against them effectively, rather than adopt a protectionist outlook that will ultimately limit our technological advancement.”