On first blush, the proposed legislation that sent more than a million Hong Kong residents into the streets on Sunday and resulted in violent clashes with police in the following days may not seem like such a big deal. Its purpose is purportedly to allow the accused murderer of a Hong Kong girl to be extradited to Taiwan, where the killing is alleged to have occurred.
But the protesters know that the bill is actually the latest attempt by Chinas central government to further breach Hong Kongs autonomy and the essential human freedoms guaranteed by treaty until at least 2047.
The extradition bill would permit the Beijing-controlled Hong Kong authorities to send residents for trial to any country. The problem is that those countries include China, where Hong Kong residents would be at the mercy of a system controlled by a government unencumbered by civil rights protections, by checks and balances or by a transparent system of justice.