The government of Hong Kong is offering rewards of C$170,000 for information that would aid in the prosecution of eight dissidents living in exile, including leading pro-democracy activist Nathan Law. Governments of the three countries where the exiles reside — Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. — all condemned the arrest warrants and vowed not to comply with any extradition requests.
Long reach of the law
The eight dissidents are accused of having violated Hong Kong’s controversial National Security Law (NSL), which was imposed in 2020 and gives authorities sweeping powers to charge residents with crimes such as inciting secession and foreign collusion. Several of the charges against the dissidents are based on statements they made after fleeing the city allegedly urging foreign governments to impose sanctions against Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s chief superintendent of police, Steve Li Kwai-wah, reiterated on Monday that the NSL has “extraterritorial effects.” Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee said the city “follows very strictly the UN model law on extradition,” and thus will not demand their extradition. Nevertheless, he added, any of the eight could be detained while transiting through “friendly nations.”
Ottawa paused its extradition agreement with Hong Kong after the NSL was passed in 2020, but still has not abrogated it. Canada-born Dennis Kwok, one of the eight implicated in Monday’s announcement, urged the Canadian government to formally end the agreement with Hong Kong.
Kwok, who gave up his Canadian citizenship in 2012 to serve as a lawmaker in the Hong Kong legislature, is currently in the U.S. In 2021, however, he was living in Canada and indicated that he was seeking to regain his Canadian citizenship. Global Affairs Canada tweeted on Wednesday that Canada is “gravely concerned” by the arrest warrants and condemns the “extraterritorial application” of the NSL.