Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

Australia suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and extended visas for Hong Kong residents in response to China’s imposition of a tough national security law on the semi-autonomous territory.

Details

  • Australia announced a range of visas that will be extended from two to five years and offers of pathways to permanent residency visas, although, it is not clear how many Hong Kongers are expected to get the extensions.
  • The move comes after China bypassed Hong Kong’s Legislative Council to impose the sweeping security legislation without public consultation.
  • Critics view it as a further deterioration of freedoms promised to the former British colony.

The Controversial Law

  • The national security law prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs.
  • Under the law, police now have sweeping powers to conduct searches without warrants and order internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be in violation of the legislation.

Have other countries done something similar?

  • Britain, too, is extending residency rights for up to 3 million Hong Kongers eligible for British National Overseas passports, allowing them to live and work in the U.K. for five years.
  • US parliament unanimous passed a bill that would impose sanctions on entities that help violate Hong Kong’s autonomy and financial institutions that do business with them.
  • Canada has suspected its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and is looking at other options including migration.

China’s Response

  • China last week warned Australia against “interfering in China’s internal affairs with Hong Kong.”
  • The Party warned that “no one should underestimate the repercussions to the Australian economy from a further deterioration of bilateral ties.”

-Source: The Hindu

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