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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Peace Corps formally notified members of Congress this week that it will withdraw volunteers from China starting in June, according to a statement from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)

The latest: In what could be another sign of worsening relations between China and the U.S. — amidst an 18-month trade war — the University of Maryland said on Friday that it will close its Confucius Institute, the earliest of its kind in America.

Background: The Peace Corps' retreat from China follows a December report from the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) that determined there is a "strong argument" that China committed "crimes against humanity" in its northwestern region of Xinjiang.

What they're saying: "U.S. taxpayer dollars should not be used to bolster Communist China through the Peace Corps, and I’m glad they no longer will," Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, top Republican of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement on Friday.

  • "Today’s decision by the Peace Corps to withdraw its volunteers from China confirms what we all know — China is no longer a developing country," Rubio said in his Thursday statement.

Go deeper: The stakes of a swift U.S.-China decoupling

Go deeper

10 mins ago - World

China crosses 1 billion vaccinations, with 500 million in one month

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

China has now administered 1 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines — 500 million of them in just the past month. That's half of the global total during that period.

The big picture: China's vaccine rollout started slowly, due in part to a low sense of urgency and also to the fact that the government was focusing on exporting doses.

58 mins ago - Sports

Raiders player becomes first active in NFL to come out as gay

Photo: Julio Aguilar via Getty Images

Las Vegas Raiders player Carl Nassib becomes the first active NFL player in history to come out as gay on Monday.

Driving the news: Nassib said he was coming out now because "representation and visibility are so important" and he will be donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention service for LGBTQ youth in the U.S.

Airlines, unions want DOJ to prosecute unruly passengers

Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A coalition of airline industry partners asked the Justice Department on Monday to begin prosecuting disruptive passengers.

Why it matters: Increased political divisions and conflict over pandemic guidelines have led the Federal Aviation Administration to take some form of enforcement action over 400 times in the first five months of 2021, compared to 146 in all of 2019, according to the coalition.