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Chinese flags on road-lamps covered by trees, in Nanning, Guangxi Region, China. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A Chinese spy has defected to Australia, offering a bevy of secrets on Chinese intelligence operations, according to Australian newspaper The Age.

Why it matter: Wang “William” Liqiang is the first Chinese operative to "blow his cover," The Age reports. He provided Australia information on Chinese political interference in Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, along with the identities of senior Chinese military intelligence officers in Hong Kong.

What's happening: Wang is "at an undisclosed location in Sydney on a tourist visa and seeking urgent protection from the Australian government," The Age writes.

  • In interviews, he has revealed how China controls listed companies to finances its intelligence projects, surveil and profile dissenters and co-opt media.
  • His testimony to ASIO, the Australian counter-intelligence agency, demonstrates "how Beijing’s spies are infiltrating Hong Kong’s democracy movement, manipulating Taiwan’s elections and operating with impunity in Australia," per The Age.

Duncan Lewis, the head of ASIO, on Friday said the Chinese government is "trying to place themselves in a position of advantage" through "insidious" foreign interference, per The Age.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 43 mins ago - Technology

Twitter sues Texas AG Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at February's Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Twitter on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), saying that his office launched an investigation into the social media giant because it banned former President Trump from its platform.

Driving the news: Twitter is seeking to halt an investigation launched by Paxton into moderation practices by Big Tech firms including Twitter for what he called "the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President," days after they banned him following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.