Hong Kong protests: This is what China does to a society, WSJ's Bill McGurn

A stand-off between protesters and police turned violent in Hong Kong on Wednesday over an anti-extradition bill.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas as demonstrators opposed a new bill that would allow extradition to mainland China.

Wall Street Journal editorial board member Bill McGurn, who spent 10 years living in Hong Kong, described the violent scenes as “unspeakably sad’ and said the government of Beijing is responsible for disrupting the peaceful manner of the city’s residents.

“The people of Hong Kong are the most law-abiding people in the world,” he said during an interview on “Bulls & Bears” Wednesday. “This is China. This is what China does to a society.”

McGurn said the rallies against the extradition bill outlines the people of Hong Kong’s outcry against Chinese President Xi Jinping and his government’s oppression.

“No one in Hong Kong is for this bill. They know it means a midnight knock on the door for them, which they didn’t have before,” he said.

Hong Kong, a former British colony until it was returned to Chinese rule in 1997, has a population of 7 million people. And since then, it has been governed as a semiautonomous region under governance of a "one country, two systems" principle.


McGurn said Hongkongers feel China will treat them like criminals and limit any opportunity for a better education, domestically or abroad, and to seek economic prosperity.

“The whole genius of the Hong Kong system apart from free-trade, their single most competitive advantages: your money and yourself are safe here because we are not China,” he said. “And this makes them China.”