BERLIN – China has condemned Germany’s decision to suspend its extradition agreement with Hong Kong, accusing Berlin of a “serious breach of international law.”
Germany’s foreign minister announced the suspension Friday following the disqualification of 12 pro-democracy candidates from legislative elections and a subsequent decision to postpone the elections. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam cited a worsening coronavirus outbreak in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory in postponing the vote.
The Chinese Embassy in Berlin expressed “strong indignation and firm opposition to the wrong remarks of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas” in a statement posted on its website and dated Friday.
Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States also have suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong last month after the central government in Beijing imposed a new national security law on the city. The move raised fears that Hong Kong’s freedoms and local autonomy are being taken away.
Germany’s Maas described the election decisions as “a further infringement of the rights of Hong Kong’s citizens.”
The Chinese Embassy said the actions were justified and consistent with the “one country, two systems” framework under which Hong Kong, a former British colony, was handed over to Chinese control in 1997.
“The German side’s erroneous remarks on Hong Kong and the suspension of the extradition treaty with Hong Kong are a serious breach of international law and basic norms governing international relations and gross violation of China’s internal affairs,” the embassy statement said. “We firmly oppose them and reserve the right to react further.”
Germany currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency.