Labor welcomes the announcement by the Chief Executive of Hong Kong that the proposed extradition bill has been withdrawn.
The proposed bill would have made it possible to subject Hong Kong residents to extradition and criminal trial in China, prompting months of protests in Hong Kong.
The people of Hong Kong have been seeking to retain their freedoms under the promise of ‘One Country, Two Systems’.
A critical element of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ arrangement is Hong Kong’s rule of law and independent judiciary.
Labor has always championed human rights and believes an independent judiciary and the rule of law are essential to human rights.
Indeed, Australian Labor did not support ratification of an extradition treaty with China and welcomed the Government’s decision not to proceed with it.
While the withdrawal of this bill only meets one of the protest movement’s five demands, Labor hopes today’s announcement marks a positive step towards peaceful resolution of the situation in Hong Kong.
We call on the Hong Kong authorities to now engage with protestors on their remaining demands.
We urge protesters to remain peaceful – and we urge the authorities to exercise maximum restraint, respond proportionately, and work towards a peaceful resolution.
What happens in Hong Kong matters to Australia and matters to the world. It is vital the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ arrangement, in place since 1997, is maintained.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.