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So far it’s two strikes for China

26 7 18

Protesters clash with security forces and set patrol vehicles on fire. Police arrest hundreds of frustrated young people on the streets while luxury shops are looted at the center of the city. Is this Hong Kong? No, it's Minneapolis, Atlanta, New York City or one of other two dozen big cities in the United States.

In Hong Kong, in contrast, protesters are reportedly being overwhelmed by the city police. Compared to last year’s mass protests in Hong Kong against a proposed extradition law, the current furious demonstrations against national security laws being imposed by Beijing seem to be much smaller in size and there is an air of resignation about the future.

Beijing has already crossed the Rubicon. President Xi Jinping seems to be determined to implement the new security laws as a fait accompli in Hong Kong. This, however, is not the first time that China has defied the rule of law in the international community and challenged it with the Communist Party's rule by decree.

Beijing’s decision on Hong Kong involves three grave mistakes that are legal, political and international in nature, respectively. As Chris Patton, the last British governor of Hong Kong, warns, China's latest move against Hong Kong’s freedom is “a threat to all liberal democracies.” The following is my take on Beijing’s recklessness:

Legally speaking, Article 18 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s de facto constitution, stipulates that mainland China’s “National laws shall not be applied” in Hong Kong “except for those listed in Annex III” and “The Standing Committee of........

© The Japan Times