The Australian government announced that it would be temporarily suspending its extradition agreement with Hong Kong over fears of the new security Beijing passed within the city.

In a statement, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new legislation threatened Hong Kong's autonomy which was handed by the British colony to China, as reported by BBC.

International shelter

Previously, Australia planned to provide visas to Hong Kong citizens who were looking to flee the city while also encouraging businesses to relocate and offer their services in the country.

The Chinese government has since criticized the decision and considered the move to be a gross interference in its domestic affairs.

The Chinese embassy located in Australia issued a statement urging the Australian government to cease interference in the matter immediately, or Beijing would be forced to retaliate accordingly.

Since the passing of the last week, several countries have attempted to provide safe shelter to Hong Kong citizens should they flee the city, including Canada and the UK. However, Canada has also taken the same decision as Australia and suspended its extradition treaty over fears of the consequences.

Several critics have stated that the new security law makes it easier for the Chinese government to arrest and apprehend protesters or opposition of the Communist Party.

The Hong Kong government, on the other hand, said the new legislation was necessary to control the rising chaos that has come with the mass pro-democracy protests since last year, some of which have become increasingly violent.

Also Read: Chinese Official Warns UK of Interference Over Providing British Citizenship to Nearly 3 Million Residents

Critics expressed their concern over the unknown details of the law and how far it could reach, stating it would be possible to detain foreign nationals who are currently residing in Hong Kong.

The possibility has led several countries, including Australia, to become increasingly anxious about its citizens located in the city and have issued warnings to Australians living in the city which number more than 100,000 people.

Travel caution

According to The New York Times, Australia's travel advice noted Australian citizens are at increased risk of being detained in the Asian nation based on vague details in the new security law and cautioned that they could commit illegal acts with no knowledge of it being against the law.

Morrison explained the decision was made after discussions of the potential effects of the new security law would have on the Australian citizens in Hong Kong. The prime minister said the possible consequences resulted in the administration rethinking the extradition agreement.

Beijing has since reacted aggressively to international interference where several countries moved to support Hong Kong citizens to flee the city and critics who have expressed their disapproval of the legislation.

The Chinese capital noted that the new security law was put into place to deter terrorism and foreign interference that could adversely affect the city.

The state-backed Global Times published an editorial this week which warned that Australia's economy could face a massive backlash if it continued with its support of Hong Kong, as reported by CNN.

Related Article: China's New Security Law In Hong Kong Causes Libraries to Pull Pro-Democracy Books in Fears of Violations