A deputy director of the Basic Law Committee, Maria Tam, on Monday claimed that the United States is fine with allowing extraditions to China and said Washington should not try to stop Hong Kong from having such ties with the mainland.
“In the year 2000, the United States had already signed a treaty with the PRC in respect of the extradition of offenders. And they have actually sent back, you know, through the help of Interpol investigations and all that, no less than four cases in the last six years or so, of suspects being wanted by China and absconded to the States,” said Tam.
The United States does not have a formal extradition treaty with China, but in early 2000 the two countries agreed to cooperate on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. It was not clear if Tam was referring to this.
Some people, including former security minister Regina Ip, have expressed worries that the US may impose sanctions on Hong Kong if it passes legal amendments that will allow one-off extradition deals with any jurisdiction, including the mainland.
But Tam rebuffed such fears. “If the States themselves can work with China, why can't Hong Kong work with China?” she said.
Tam also said there’s nothing wrong with Beijing stepping into the extradition controversy.
The central government’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and the liaison office expressed support for the proposed extradition changes last week, prompting allegations of Beijing interference in the matter.
“This time I have personally no doubt whatsoever that the Hong Kong government is acting according to the law,” she said.
“So, if anybody comes out and says we should all support a government that acts in accordance with the law, then why should anybody feel worried about it?”