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The long-running protests against the extradition bill in Hong Kong have clearly grown into something more fundamental against encroaching rule from Beijing. For, despite the promises of “One Country, Two Systems”, the mainland has transparently increasing its influence on the territory, from barring people from standing for the Legislative Council to making “abuse” of the Chinese national anthem an offence to having its laws take effect in the city’s new train station. When booksellers go missing, journalists are refused visas and businessmen are abducted to the mainland, Hong Kong was looking just like another Chinese city – as Beijing intended.
But no developed settlement, with the rule of law and separation of powers and some form of democratic voting, has ever freely opted to forgo them, and so the extradition law was one encroachment too much.