extradition suspends

U.K. suspends Hong Kong extradition treaty and extends arms embargo in rebuke to China – CNBC

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab arrives for a COBRA meeting at 10 Downing street in central London on April 9, 2020.

OLGA AKMEN | AFP via Getty Images

The U.K. has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong amid rising tensions with China over its new national security law in the former British colony.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced in a speech to the House of Commons on Monday that the treaty would be suspended indefinitely, accusing China of a “clear and serious violation of the U.K.-China joint declaration, and with it a violation of China’s freely assumed international obligations.”

He also vowed to extend the arms embargo that has been applied to mainland China since 1989 to Hong Kong, suspending all exports from the U.K. to Hong Kong of potentially lethal weaponry, its components and ammunition, along with any equipment that might be used for “repression.”

Beijing has denied violating international law and has accused the U.S. and U.K. of trying to destabilize the region by meddling in Chinese affairs.

The U.K.’s move comes amid widespread condemnation of Beijing’s security law, which stipulates that acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion are punishable by life sentences, following a prolonged period of pro-democracy protests in the city.

“I am particularly concerned about Articles 55 to 59 of the law, which give mainland Chinese authorities the ability to assume jurisdiction over certain cases and to try those cases in mainland Chinese courts,” Raab told the House.

“The national security law does not provide legal or judicial safeguards in such cases, and I am also concerned about the potential reach of the extra-territorial provisions.”

Raab added that the British government will not consider reactivating its prior arrangements with Hong Kong “unless and until there are robust safeguards which are able to prevent extradition from the U.K. being misused under the new national security legislation.”

China’s embassy in London wasn’t immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC, but earlier on Monday Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that Britain should avoid taking further steps down the wrong path.

He added on a daily briefing call that China would react resolutely to actions that interfere in the country’s internal affairs, according to Reuters.

The treaty, which had been in place for more than 30 years, meant that someone in Hong Kong who was suspected of a crime in the U.K. could be handed over to face justice at the British government’s request, and vice versa. The U.S., Canada and Australia have all suspended similar treaties since the imposition of the new security bill.

The U.K. has also offered visa rights to 3 million Hong Kong citizens in the wake of the bill’s passage, with Western powers accusing China of clamping down on the city’s autonomy.

Relations between London and Beijing have continued to sour on multiple fronts, inflamed further last week by the U.K. decision to ban Chinese tech giant Huawei from the country’s 5G network.

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activists suspends

Zoom suspends US activists for commemorating Tiananmen Square massacre – New York Post

June 11, 2020 | 8:28am | Updated June 11, 2020 | 1:05pm

Zoom suspended a US-based nonprofit account after it held an online event commemorating the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Humanitarian China, based in Hayward, Calif., said it discovered Zoom had shut down its account on Sunday, about a week after its May 31 event marking the 31st anniversary of China’s violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

The conference had more than 250 participants — including some in China — and featured several speakers including the Tiananmen Mothers, an activist group of relatives of people killed in the 1989 massacre, Humanitarian China said.

“It seems possible Zoom acted on pressure from the CCP to shut down our account,” the group said in a statement, referring to the Chinese Communist Party. “If so, Zoom is complicit in erasing the memories of the Tiananmen Massacre in collaboration with an authoritarian government.”

The Tiananmen crackdown remains a sensitive and taboo subject in China, and online information about the action is heavily censored there.

Zoom confirmed that it suspended Humanitarian China’s account but said it has been reactivated. The videoconferencing giant cited concerns about following laws in the countries where it operates.

“We regret that a few recent meetings with participants both inside and outside of China were negatively impacted and important conversations were disrupted,” a Zoom spokesperson said in a statement. “It is not in Zoom’s power to change the laws of governments opposed to free speech. However, Zoom is committed to modifying its processes to further protect its users from those who wish to stifle their communications.”

Zoom did not explain why it chose to deactivate the account of the US-based organization, which was not violating US laws, instead of accounts based in China.

Humanitarian China founder Zhou Fengsuo said Zoom has not responded to the group’s inquiries about the ordeal. “We still want to know why our account was closed,” he said on Twitter.

Zoom has been working to address security problems on its platform amid a boom in business driven by the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced people around the world to hold work and social gatherings online.

The US Department of Homeland Security has reportedly warned that Zoom’s security flaws could make it vulnerable to spies in China and other countries. But Zoom strongly disputed the feds’ analysis, calling it “heavily misinformed” and inaccurate.

With Post wires

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hydroxychloroquine suspends

WHO suspends hydroxychloroquine trials – Washington Examiner

The World Health Organization is temporarily suspending the use of hydroxychloroquine from its global study into experimental treatments for the coronavirus.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a news briefing Monday that a study published last week showed those taking hydroxychloroquine had a greater risk of heart problems and death.

Tedros said a “temporary pause” would be implemented on the drug’s use in the trials until the data are reviewed.

“This concern relates to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in COVID-19,” he said, noting that it’s safe to use the drug to treat autoimmune diseases and malaria.

Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies chief, said the decision was made out of an “an abundance of caution,” and there have not yet been any safety issues with the use of hydroxychloroquine in the trial.

President Trump has championed the drug as a “game changer” in treating coronavirus patients and announced last week he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure. Trump has not tested positive for COVID-19.

The Food and Drug Administration approved an emergency use authorization for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, a less toxic derivative of chloroquine, to treat some hospitalized patients, but warned the drugs can cause serious heart problems.

“Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19,” the FDA said.

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