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Hong Kong riot police round up a group of protesters during a demonstration on Wednesday. Photo: Willie Siau/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Chinese lawmakers approved a plan on Thursday for a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong that would criminalize sedition, foreign influence and secession in the Asian financial hub.

Why it matters: China bypassed Hong Kong's legislature and chief executive to introduce the law, prompting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to announce Wednesday that the city is no longer autonomous from the Chinese mainland and does not warrant special treatment under U.S. law.

The big picture: The former British colony retained a high degree of autonomy when it was returned to China in 1997.

  • Beijing's encroachment on Hong Kong's independent legal system sparked massive protests and several flash-points between police and demonstrators that crippled the city last year.
  • Legislators in the Chinese territory later withdrew the bill that would have seen Hong Kongers charged with criminal offenses extradited to China.
  • Pro-democracy protesters held smaller protests maintaining physical-distancing as the novel coronavirus hit Hong Kong this year, with authorities banning gatherings of more than eight people.
  • But concerns about the law and another bill being debated in Hong Kong that proposes to criminalize any "disrespect of the Chinese Anthem" triggered massive protests in the city this week, and clashes with police.

Go deeper: Hong Kong's economic future hangs in the balance

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Sep 1, 2020 - World

Xinjiang residents reportedly forced to take medicine amid coronavirus fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Rumors have swirled for months that local authorities pressed residents of Xinjiang, a far northwestern region in China, to take traditional Chinese medicine during the coronavirus pandemic. Now a new report from the Associated Press based on interviews, public notices and social media posts suggests this may be true.

Why it matters: Forcing an entire population to take medicine that has not been clinically proven to be effective against the coronavirus could be a breach of medical ethics.

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down with CNN on Thursday for their first joint interview since the election.

The big picture: In the hour-long segment, the twosome laid out plans for responding to the pandemic, jump-starting the economy and managing the transition of power, among other priorities.