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Activists in exile urge EU states to suspend extradition treaties with China

ANI | Updated: May 21, 2021 01:16 IST

Munich [Germany], May 21 (ANI): A total of 55 activists in exile have called for "urgent coordinated action" to suspend all bilateral extradition agreements between the EU Member States and China, to "protect the freedom of movement, association, and speech for all."
In a letter addressed to the President of the European Council, and the President of the European Commission, the activists from Hong Kong, Tibet, and mainland China said that extradition treaties with China play a key role in the country's effort to export its regime of "political terror overseas."
"Not only do the Bilateral Extradition Treaties with the PRC legitimize a judicial system that does not respect any of the due process standards prescribed by international law, but they also play a key role in the CCP's effort to export its regime of political terror overseas," the letter read.
"As activists in exile, in the safe haven of Europe, these active extradition treaties are of great and immediate concern. Under current judicial review procedures for extradition requests they not only present a potential threat to our freedom of movement within the European Union, but to our freedom of association and freedom of expression, as Beijing may seek our extradition for statements we make in Europe," it added.

Signatories to the letter include former pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmaker Nathan Law; Chinese contemporary artist and activist, Ai Weiwei; Angela Gui, the daughter of abducted Hong Kong bookseller, Gui Minhai; Dolkun Isa, the President of the World Uyghur Congress; and Shao Jiang, a student leader during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
Citing a few examples, the letter stated that "Recent extradition cases in Sweden, Poland and Spain have shown a dangerous trend where the Chinese Government has sought to circumvent provisions to stop political persecution by demanding extradition for financial crimes, accusing activists and dissidents of financial fraud."
As many as 10 EU member states have extradition treaties with China. They are Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, and Spain.
Commenting on the publication of the letter, Ray Wong, a Hong Kong activist who was granted asylum in Germany and one of the signatories, said: "It is appalling that countries like Belgium, France and Spain still have extradition treaties with mainland China. In practice this means that if I decide to visit Brussels to speak to European parliamentarians or travel to Paris to address a rally, I could run the risk of being arrested and extradited to China to stand trial under the National Security Law. "
Reinhard Butikofer, Chair of the European Parliament's China Delegation, said: "We cannot allow the long arm of the Chinese state to reach into the heart of our European democracy. Bilateral extradition treaties with China are an open invite for the Chinese government to exert pressure on European citizens who dare to criticize the actions of the Chinese Communist Party. Terminating these agreements must be a first step in strengthening the resilience of our democratic institutions." (ANI)