Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: China’s diplomatic assurances criticized in New Zealand

New Zealand’s top court has ruled that a man can be extradited to China to face a murder charge, in what activists have called a “deeply disturbing precedent”. Kyung Yup Kim, a New Zealand permanent resident, is accused of murdering a young woman in Shanghai in 2009. Human rights groups say he faces an unfair trial or risk of human rights abuses under China’s judicial system. But New Zealand’s government says it has been assured this will not happen. Mr Kim has been fighting the move for over a decade, since Chinese authorities requested his extradition in 2011. His lawyer, Tony Ellis, told the BBC the government was “deluded” if they thought the diplomatic assurances they had received from China would protect Mr Kim from receiving ill treatment in Chinese custody. (https://news.yahoo.com/zealand-court-allow-extradition-china-063218029.html) Lawyers also claimed that Mr Kim could be subjected to undetectable forms of torture. New Zealand had at first refused to give Mr Kim up to China upon receiving the extradition request in 2011. However, the government changed its mind in 2015. It told the Supreme Court it had sought and secured assurances from Beijing that Mr Kim would be treated fairly. The diplomatic promises include that Mr Kim would be held in custody and trialled in Shanghai, and that New Zealand consulate officials would be able to visit Mr Kim every 48 hours during the investigation period. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the government.

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