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Australia; China; France: Extradition Treaties

(May 2, 2008) On April 24, 2008, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China (PRC) ratified extradition treaties with France and Australia. Each treaty has 23 articles. The treaties cover, among other matters, extradition obligations, extraditable offenses, reasons that can be used and reasons that should be used to refuse extradition, property transfer, channels of contact, re-extradition, temporary custody, delayed transfer and temporary transfer, means of dispute settlement, and the treaty's entry into force and termination procedures. Neither Australia nor France has capital punishment, and so each of the treaties provides that the respective country can refuse to extradite a suspect who would face the death penalty in China. (Quanguo Ren Da Chang weihui pizhun Zhong Ao yindu tiaoyue [The National People's Congress Standing Committee [NPCSC] Ratifies China – Australia Extradition Treaty], XINHUA, Apr. 25, 2008; Quanguo Ren Da Chang Weihui ni pizhun Zhongguo he Faguo yindu tiaoyue [The NPCSC Plans to Ratify the Extradition Treaty between China and France], XINHUA, Apr. 22, 2008; China Ratified Extradition Treaties with Australia and France, BEIJING REVIEW, Apr. 25, 2008, available at http://www.bjreview.com.cn/headline/txt/2008-04/25/content_112818.htm.)

Spain was the first developed, Western country with which China signed an extradition treaty. The treaty was ratified on April 29, 2006. It was also the first among the PRC's extradition treaties to contain provisions touching on the death penalty issue. (Zhongguo lifa jiguan pizhun yu fada guojia de shouge yindu tiaoyue [China's Legislature Ratifies the First Extradition Treaty with a Developed Country], XINHUA, Apr. 29, 2006; Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo he Xibanya Wangguo yindu tiaoyue [Extradition Treaty of the PRC and the Kingdom of Spain] [Chinese text], PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web site, Apr. 4, 2008.)

China has reportedly signed 99 bilateral judicial assistance protocols with more than 50 countries and regions. That figure includes 58 treaties on civil and judicial assistance, 30 on extradition, five on the transfer of criminals, and six on “the crackdown on national separatist forces, religious extremists and international terrorist forces.” (BEIJING REVIEW, supra.)