Pro-Beijing supporters gather outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on Nov. 11 after four pro-democracy lawmakers were stripped of their seats, immediately after China gave the city the power to disqualify politicians deemed a threat to national security. (Photo: AFP)
The Hong Kong government has suspended extradition treaties with the Netherlands and Ireland while disqualifying four pro-democracy lawmakers after Beijing’s top legislative body passed a resolution to oust legislators who fail to meet a “loyalty requirement”.
It said notices had been sent to the consulates of the Netherlands and Ireland suspending the agreement “for the surrender of accused and convicted persons and the other concerning mutual legal assistance in criminal matters between Hong Kong and the two countries.”
The move came after the Netherlands and Ireland suspended their agreements on the surrender of fugitives with Hong Kong, citing the new national security law, which a government spokesman added was an interference in China’s internal affairs.
The suspension was announced amid a further crackdown on the pro-democracy movement and after the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress passed a resolution demanding loyalty from the territory’s legislators.
It said Hong Kong lawmakers “who promote or support Hong Kong independence and refused to admit China’s exercise of sovereignty over the city should be considered in breach of their oath of allegiance to the special administrative region (SAR).”
This includes legislators who appeal to foreign governments to “interfere” or engage in behavior seen as endangering national security.
The lawmakers who lost their seats on Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo) included Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung and fellow party members Dennis Kwok and Kwok Ka-ki. Kenneth Leung from the accountancy constituency was also ousted.
China’s official state-run Xinhua News Agency said the resolution was discussed in Beijing at the request of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
“This is clearly in breach of the Basic Law and our rights to participate in public affairs, and a failure to observe due process,” ousted legislator Kwok told journalists.
Yeung added: “The road ahead will be bumpy, difficult and challenging … but I am in full faith of Hong Kong and all Hongkongers.”
Pan-democrats have previously called on foreign governments to impose sanctions on Hong Kong officials and vowed to veto the government budget.
Earlier this week, the US imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials in the territory over implementation of the national security law and their alleged role in crushing political opposition in the former British colony.
They were Deng Zhonghua, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office; Edwina Lau, deputy commissioner of police in Hong Kong; and Li Jiangzhou and Li Kwai-wah, two officials from the Hong Kong national security office.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said sanctions meant they would be barred from traveling to the United States and all US-related assets would be blocked.