China warns Finland against ‘interference’ in Hong Kong affairs

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The Chinese Embassy in Helsinki issued a stern warning to Finland to stop interfering in the affairs of Hong Kong, after Helsinki suspended an extradition agreement with China over a draconian national security law.

“Concerning the decision of the Finnish side, the Chinese side expresses grave concern and strong opposition,” the Chinese embassy said in a statement Friday. “Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. Hong Kong affairs are entirely China’s internal affairs, and allow no foreign interference.”

The EU has formally expressed “grave concern” over the national security legislation for Hong Kong adopted in Beijing, saying the law undermines Hong Kong’s “high degree of autonomy under the ‘one country, two systems’ principle.”

On Friday, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö announced the formal decision to suspend the extradition agreement, which had been under discussion since summer. Germany suspended its extradition agreement in July. 

In its statement, the Chinese embassy accused Finland of violating international law, and warned the government that it was endangering relations with Beijing. “The Chinese side urges the Finnish side to abide by the international law and the basic norms governing international relations, stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs in any forms to avoid harms to China-Finland relations,” the embassy said. 

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin was forced to leave a European Council summit in Brussels on Friday and go into self-isolation after exposure to coronavirus earlier in the week. On Saturday, the Finnish government said a first test had come back negative, and that Marin would remain in isolation pending the results of a second test to be administered on Monday.

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