This past weekend, over a million people in Hong Kong marched in protest against the proposed extradition bill that will amend Hong Kong’s existing law to allow, for the first time, an extradition arrangement between Hong Kong and China. This, in turn, would permit Chinese authorities to seek the extradition of any person in Hong Kong, regardless of nationality, wanted in China for criminal offences.
What Is Extradition?
It’s a process where one jurisdiction delivers a person accused or convicted of committing a crime in another jurisdiction, over to the requested law enforcement. Besides the legal aspects of process, extradition also involves the physical transfer of custody of the person being extradited to the legal authority of the sovereign jurisdiction. The extradition procedures to which the fugitive will be subjected are dependent on the law and practice of the requested state.
Between countries, extradition is normally regulated by treaties.
About Hong Kong
To those unaware, Hong Kong exists as a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, and its founding document- the Basic Law- is subordinate to the national constitution. In 1997 the city had established that it would partly govern itself for 50 years before fully falling under Beijing’s control; so it’s an expectation that the city and the mainland would operate under the principle known as “one country, two systems” until 2047.
However, Beijing doesn’t seem to have the patience to wait that long.
The Issue At Hand
Under the proposed amendments, legislative oversight by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council- which is itself only partially elected by universal suffrage- would be removed, and the final decision on a case-by-case basis of extradition rests solely with the Chief Executive. This on it own is already a problem for critics because Hong Kong’s Chief Executive is chosen and then approved by the government in Beijing.
Essentially, Hong Kong will just become another Chinese city ruled by the Communist Party, where entrapment, torture, and forced televised confession is an accepted means of legally persecuting critics.
The Proposed Reason
According to the Hong Kong government, the bill comes in response to a request by Taiwanese authorities to extradite Chan Tong-kai, a local, who was suspected of killing his pregnant girlfriend while the two were on vacation in Taiwan; but the city was unable to send him back to the island because they don’t share an extradition agreement.
When Hong Kong’s extradition accords were being finalized in 1997, Taiwan and China weren’t included because the mainland has a fundamentally different criminal justice system operating in the mainland. This reality doesn’t sit well with the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, who has cited two primary reasons why she wants the amendments passes:
- To provide a legal basis to deal with the Taiwan case
- Plug a loophole in the existing arrangements for the return or the surrender of fugitive offenders.
Although this is a response from the Hong Kong government, for many citizens and critics, the amendments would all but cement Beijing’s authority in a city that’s supposed to be allowed to operate mostly on its own for three more decades. Experts say the newest flare-up is part of the long-term resistance movement to keep the city as independent as possible.
Formal letters of concern have been sent by the UK, US, the EU, Canada and Australia, among others. These are all countries with large Chinese and Hong Kong Chinese communities, and with significant interests and ties to Hong Kong.
Despite large amounts of protest, it seems the legislation will pass the bill, but will it be the death of Hong Kong?
Attorney Docs is the #1 online marketplace for law professionals to buy court-used legal documents.
Need a Waiver of Extradition – Criminal Defense Case File? You’re in luck!