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U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

The United Kingdom announced Monday it will be suspending its extradition treaty and blocking arms sales with Hong Kong as a result of China's draconian new national security law.

Why it matters: The U.K. fears that the extradition treaty, which has been in place for more than 30 years, could be used to extradite individuals to Hong Kong and then have them sent to China, where they could be punished by the authoritarian central government.

  • The new national security law effectively outlaws global activism by making it illegal for anyone in the world to promote democratic reform for Hong Kong.
  • "We will protect our vital interests," U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said. "We will stand up for our values, and we will hold China to its international obligations."

The big picture: The U.K.'s announcement comes as tensions between Western nations and China continue to escalate over Beijing's infringement on Hong Kong's autonomy, human rights violations against Uighur Muslims, handling of the coronavirus pandemic and more.

  • It also comes just days after the U.K. backtracked on plans to allow Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company, to help build the U.K.'s 5G network due to national security concerns.
  • Hong Kong has extradition agreements with 19 other countries. The U.K. joins the U.S., Australia and Canada as countries that have suspended their extradition treaties in the wake of the new security law.

The state of play: The U.K. has had an arms embargo on China since 1989. Monday's move extends that embargo to Hong Kong, preventing the export of lethal weapons that could be used for internal repression.

  • The U.K. has already offered Hong Kong residents a path to British citizenship and residency after Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused China of a "serious breach" of the terms under which the U.K. returned the city in 1997.

Go deeper

Oct 26, 2020 - World

China to sanction Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon over Taiwan arms sales

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen during a visit to Penghu Air Force Base. Photo: Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images

China plans to impose unspecified sanctions on Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and other U.S. companies involved in weapons sales to Taiwan, Reuters reports, citing a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

Why it matters: The Trump administration last week notified Congress of an additional $1.8 billion in proposed arms sales to Taiwan. China's recent military exercises and the buildup of forces along its southeastern coast have renewed fears of an invasion of Taiwan, which Beijing views as a breakaway province that must be brought under its control.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Oct 26, 2020 - Economy & Business

China's Ant Group preps largest IPO of all time

Photo: Ding Junhao/VCG via Getty Images

Ant Group, the Chinese financial services giant, on Monday disclosed plans to raise up to $34.4 billion in what would be the largest global IPO of all time.

The big picture: Ant Group expects to raise around $17.2 billion in both Shanghai and Hong Kong, likely next week, by seeking to price at HK$80 per share for a potential value of more than $300 billion. Alibaba Group would participate in order to retain its 33% equity position.

Go deeper: Why the Ant IPO matters to geopolitics

Oct 27, 2020 - World

Senators introduce bipartisan resolution to label Xinjiang abuses "genocide"

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

A cadre of bipartisan senators introduced a resolution on Tuesday to formally label the Chinese government's human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the region of Xinjiang as "genocide."

Why it matters: China has faced global backlash for its repression in Xinjiang, where ethnic minorities are subject to surveillance, torture and detention in mass "re-education" camps. But genocide is a serious crime under international law, and the U.S. invokes the formal label only in rare cases.