Over the last several days, more than a million Hong Kong residents have flooded the streets and demonstrated against a proposed law that would let the semi-independent government there turn residents accused of crimes in mainland China over to communist authorities in Beijing.
Proponents of the law claim it would prevent serious criminals hiding in Hong Kong from evading justice. But many others (myself included) see the law as a way for the Chinese Communist Party to further limit Hong Kong’s already shrinking autonomy – and silence anti-communist voices in the democratic city.
The protest has reportedly even grown larger than the 2014 umbrella protests – in which hundreds of thousands in Hong Kong petitioned to be able to elect their own leadership. (These demonstrations ultimately failed. The chief executive of Hong Kong is nominated by a roughly 1,200-member election committee and appointed by a Beijing-controlled state council.)
In response to the current protests, Hong Kong police fired pepper spray, rubber bullets, and tear gas into the crowds. They have beaten countless unarmed civilians with clubs and arrested demonstrators. Hong Kong’s legislature has postponed a discussion of the proposed law,