BRITAIN is set to scrap the extradition treaty with Hong Kong today as tensions with China reach boiling point.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is gearing up to follow the US, Canada and Australia and refuse to extradite people in the UK in to Hong Kong after the communist state imposed tough security laws.
It comes as tensions between the UK and China escalated after the Government banned Huawei – the Chinese Communist party owned telecoms giant – from the 5G network in Britain.
Mr Raab is set to make a statement on the row with China later today and speak about a "range of other measures we might wish to make" in respect of China.
This is expected to include suspending Britain's extradition to Hong Kong after national security laws mean those extradited could be hauled in front of Chinese courts and jailed in China.
The law prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs.
Pro-democracy leader Nathan Law fled to the UK after the law came into effect this month.
He told The Sunday Times he was afraid he may never be allowed to go back to Hong Kong.
A 15-year-old girl waving a pro-democracy flag in Hong Kong on the day the law came into effect was among 10 people arrested under the legislation.
The law grants police massive powers to conduct searches without warrants and order internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be anti-China.
The Government has already taken strong action, offering three million Hongkongers eligible for British National (Overseas) passport a path to UK citizenship.
But Mr Raab is expected to bring in even tougher measures to emphasise the UK's opposition to the rule – which the Government claims violated the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The declaration was supposed to guarantee Hong Kong freedom from Chinese rule under the "one county, two systems" model for 50 years after the handover of the former British colony in 1997.
Chinese ambassador to the UK warned Britain not to enter into a "tit-for-tat" confrontation or follow the US in its sanctions on Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses of Uighur muslims in Xinjiang.
What is the new national security law?
The law will criminalise any act of subversion, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces.
The heaviest penalty that can be imposed is life in jail, the editor in chief of the Global Times newspaper claimed after citing those who have seen the draft of the law.
Under the law, damaging public transport can be considered terrorism and those found guilty will be banned from standing for public office.
Some trials will not be held in public while individuals can be wire-tapped and put under surveillance if they are suspected of criminality.
Beijing is also set to establish a security office in Hong Kong with its own law enforcement personnel and with the power to send some cases to mainland China to be tried.
Beijing will further have power over how the law should be interpreted and Hong Kong will have to establish its own national security commission to enforce the laws, with a Beijing-appointed adviser.
Mr Raab played down suggestions sanctions against officials could be brought in under the UK's new human rights scheme which can impose tough restrictions on abusers – including travel bans.
He insisted that Britain wanted a "positive relationship" with China.
Chair of the defence select commit Tobias Ellwood called for a "reset of our entire foreign policy" to fight back against Chinese aggression.
He told BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour programme that Britain had been "duped over the couple of decades" by China and needing to hit back with a firm hand.
He said: “I really want to see a reset of our entire foreign policy, bearing in mind that we are sliding towards a cold war, we can’t do this on our own, we need to work with our allies.”
“We turned a blind eye to what was going on with the Uighur population, we turned a blind eye to the uneven trade situation whereby Chinese companies could operate quite liberally within the UK and elsewhere but our companies couldn’t operate within China and now I think it’s time to say enough is enough.”
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