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China hits back at Pompeo remarks on Hong Kong extradition treaty

AFP  |  Beijing 

hit back Friday at concerns voiced by US over Hong Kong's plans to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland, accusing of an attempt to "intervene" in the city's internal affairs.

is pushing a bill through the city's legislature which would allow case-by-case extraditions to any jurisdictions it doesn't have an already agreed treaty with, including mainland

Historically the city has balked at mainland extraditions because of the opacity of China's criminal justice system and its liberal use of the death penalty.

The extradition plan has sparked huge protests and mounting alarm within Hong Kong's business and legal communities -- as well as foreign governments -- who fear it will hammer the semi-autonomous financial hub's international appeal.

Pompeo "expressed concern" about the bill and its potential to undermine rule of law in the city during Thursday talks in Washington, a State Department said.

But Chinese said the bill was needed to "to plug legal loopholes" in Hong Kong's judicial system and prevent the financial hub from becoming "a haven for criminals".

"It is a mistake to intervene in in any form," Lu told a regular briefing.

"Trying to take advantage of the opportunity to create chaos in the Special Administrative Region will not be popular or successful." Pompeo spoke on the bill during a meeting with a delegation headed by Martin Lee, a founder of Hong Kong's opposition

In an opinion piece this week in the Post, Lee warned that the could make Americans and other foreigners "potential hostages to extradition claims driven by the political agenda of Beijing".

"The time for the world to act to protect Hong Kong's free society and legal system is now -- not when people and others are taken to be jailed in China," he wrote.

A recent report by the US-Economic and Security Review Commission, an advisory body set up by the US Congress, warned that the extradition bill posed "serious" security risks to the estimated 85,000 US citizens in Hong Kong.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 17 2019. 18:16 IST