Beijing's reprisal comes after New Zealand joined countries like Canada, Australia and the UK in ending extradition agreements in response to China's national security law on the territory.

Hong Kong and Chinese national flags are seen behind a pair of surveillance cameras outside the Central Government Offices in Hong Kong, China. July 20, 2020.
Hong Kong and Chinese national flags are seen behind a pair of surveillance cameras outside the Central Government Offices in Hong Kong, China. July 20, 2020. (Reuters)

China has suspended Hong Kong's extradition treaty with New Zealand in a reprisal for its earlier decision to end an extradition treaty with Hong Kong. 

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin announced the decision on Monday amid a daily briefing.

The move comes amid a row with Western nations protesting a tough new security law Beijing imposed on the city.

France also said on Monday it would not ratify a 2017 extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

"In view of the latest developments, France will not proceed as it stands with the ratification of the extradition agreement signed on May 4, 2017 between France and the Hong Kong Special Administrative region," a French Foreign Ministry statement said.

France is the latest to join a string of Western powers, including New Zealand, Canada, Britain, Australia and Germany, that have suspended extradition treaties with Hong Kong since the controversial law was introduced in late June.

READ MORE: China's security law in Hong Kong explained

'Gross interference'

This comes amid concerns that Hong Kong's judicial system could come under direct Chinese influence, possibly making use of Hong Kong's extradition treaties with other nations where the Chinese mainland lacks one.

“China’s passage of its new national security legislation has eroded rule-of-law principles, undermined the ‘one country, two systems’ framework that underpins Hong Kong’s unique status, and gone against commitments China made to the international community," New Zealand's Foreign Minister Winston Peters said. 

China has already hit back by suspending Hong Kong's extradition treaties with Canada, Britain and Australia.

"New Zealand's practices... grossly interfere in China's internal affairs," foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, announcing Beijing's decision to suspend any judicial cooperation with Wellington.

This echoed a similar statement by China’s ambassador to New Zealand who expressed "grave concern," and also described the move as “gross interference in China’s internal matters." 

“Any attempt to pressure China on the issue of Hong Kong will not succeed," Ambassador Wu Xi is quoted as saying. 

READ MORE: China tells foreign critics 'none of your business' on Hong Kong law

What's at stake?

Critics say the security law will erode civil liberties and human rights enjoyed by residents in the former British colony, which was returned to China in 1997.

New Zealand has also tightened restrictions on military and dual-use exports to Hong Kong.

Its latest travel advice to its citizens in the territory said the security law had led to an increased risk of arrest for activities such as protests, with the possibility of being removed to mainland China to face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The United States has also decided to rescind Hong Kong's special trading privileges after the new law was enacted.

Last year, the Asian financial hub witnessed mass protests against a move to legalise extradition of accused people to mainland China.

READ MORE: How the world reacted to China’s national security law for Hong Kong

New Zealand reviews overall Hong Kong ties

Peters said New Zealand could no longer trust that Hong Kong’s criminal justice system is independent from China.

"If China in future shows adherence to the ‘one country, two systems’ framework then we could reconsider this decision,” he said.

A review of overall relationship with Hong Kong is ongoing, the foreign minister added. 

“Firstly, we are changing how we treat the export of sensitive goods to Hong Kong. "

Hitting back, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson emphatically stated, "The Chinese side urges the New Zealand side to abide by the international law and the basic norms governing international relations, immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs in any forms to avoid further harm to China-New Zealand relations."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies