Canadian MPs warn of dangers of new extradition law
Canadian Members of Parliament today issued a joint statement warning of the dangers of the proposed new extradition arrangements in Hong Kong, following a briefing by Hong Kong Watch in the Canadian Parliament last week.
Following the event, Garnett Genuis MP, David Anderson MP, Harold Albrecht MP, issued a joint statement, saying:
"The proposed amendment to the Hong Kong extradition law, which will allow the Hong Kong government to extradite fugitives to non-contracting jurisdictions including the People's Republic of China, could facilitate the extradition of pro-democracy activists, journalists, dissidents and foreign nationals including business leaders. This is a profoundly worrying development and has the potential to compromise Hong Kong's international reputation. There are around 300,000 Hong Kong Canadians living in Hong Kong. The government must urgently look at what it means for Canadian citizens who live or travel to Hong Kong, for law enforcement co-operation and for current extradition arrangements between Canada and Hong Kong. Will Canadian citizens in Hong Kong be facing extradition based on trumped up charges in the future?"
Garnett Genuis MP, an International Patron of Hong Kong Watch and Canada’s Deputy Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, organized the lunch-time briefing, hosted by Kelly Block MP, at which Hong Kong Watch’s co-founder and Trustee Aileen Calverley spoke on the erosion of Hong Kong’s freedoms and the proposed amendments to Hong Kong’s extradition law. “The legislation could fundamentally break the “firewall” between Hong Kong and China, undermining the city’s rule of law and autonomy,” said Mrs Calverley. “The Fugitive Offenders Ordinance 1997 was set in a way to protect Hong Kong’s legal system. One of the reasons to set the ‘firewall” was the lack of confidence in China’s legal system.”
Canada’s former Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, David Kilgour, another International Patron of Hong Kong Watch, also addressed the briefing. In a discussion, former Deputy Consul of general of Canada in Hong Kong, Michael Kovrig’s case was raised as an example of how the legal system works in China. It was emphasised that Mr Kovrig is denied access to lawyers and subjected to repeated interrogations. He is held in what is known as a “black jail”, outside the standard legal system and in isolation, where he is subjected to 24-hours surveillance in floodlit cells.
Peter Kent MP attended the roundtable along with 15 staff of Members of Parliament from all parties and advisers to Prime Minister’s office.
Hong Kong Watch understands that the Canadian Foreign Ministery (Global Affairs Canada) are currently examining the existing Canada-Hong Kong extradition treaty, in view the proposed changes.
For further information see Hong Kong Watch’s new briefing on the extradition law.