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.