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A security guard opens a curtain during the closing session of the Party Congress. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri / AFP / Getty Images

Foreign Policy published Thursday an explosive story, "The Disappeared," examining the mysterious vanishing of Chinese citizens over the last several years. Some of the cases are well-known, like those of financier Xiao Jinhua and bookseller Gui Minhai, who were both taken from Hong Kong.

Yes, but: The article claims the efforts extend to Australia and increasingly America, though according to FP, the known American cases so far appear to involve pressure instead of outright kidnapping. FP spoke to a senior former U.S. intelligence official who insists there's no evidence that the American cases are not "true" renditions, like the kidnappings now seen in Australia. Per FP:

"There’s a big difference between kidnapping and pressure," the former official said, "[between] kicking in a door and taking a guy forcefully away and saying, ‘Come with us or we’ll kill your family in Inner Mongolia.’”
"It would be a 'huge leap' for Chinese intelligence to shift from employing extreme pressure tactics to performing actual hands-on kidnappings in the United States," the official said.

ICYMI: One recent high-profile case in the U.S. involved the unauthorized visit of two PRC security officials to meet with fugitive businessman Guo Wengui. As the Wall Street Journal reported last year in a story that reads like a spy thriller, the FBI detained the two officials but the agency was prevented from formally arresting them and so allowed them to return to China.

Why it matters: Expect these cases to only increase as China’s global power and influence increases — and as the Communist Party expands its efforts to influence the overseas Chinese diaspora.

More: Read these pieces from The Economist and the WSJ.

Go deeper

New wave of strikes will test worker power

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Thousands of John Deere workers hit the picket line this week after the union smacked down a new worker contract from the farm and equipment maker.

Why it matters: There’s a wave of worker angst spreading across the country. They wield new power that’s come with a historic worker shortage.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Technology

The smart city comes of age

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Better sensors, more intelligent AI, and the coming wave of 5G wireless could finally fulfill the promise of the smart city.

Why it matters: How we organize, run and power our cities will be increasingly important in the years ahead, as urbanization expands and the damaging effects of climate change compound.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
11 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.