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Hong Kong barrister and former politician Alvin Yeung is among those arrested in the latest crackdown. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

A group of former lawmakers were among dozens of pro-democracy activists arrested on Wednesday under the national security law imposed by China, per opposition groups and local media.

Why it matters: Hong Kong had enjoyed a high degree of autonomy, but the passage of the sweeping security law by Chinese lawmakers last June has led to a major crackdown on the pro-democracy movement. It has escalated in recent weeks, with the arrests of activists including media tycoon Jimmy Lai and the imprisonment of other prominent figures like Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow.

What's new: Police took some 50 people into custody in the crackdown.

  • Former lawmakers Alvin Yeung, Lam Cheuk-ting, Andrew Wan and James To were among those arrested "on allegations of subversion" for holding an informal primary last July for a legislative election that was later postponed, per Bloomberg.
  • Police also arrested activist Ventus Lau over the 2020 legislative election primaries organized by pro-democracy groups, Bloomberg notes.

Our thought bubble, per Axios contributor Zach Dorfman, of the Aspen Institute: "Watching what's happening in Hong Kong is difficult to stomach — a semi-independent city-state being crushed and blotted out by a vast despotism. It's a very old story, and it strikes at the core of our common understanding of human freedom."

Go deeper: Hong Kong's worst case scenario is happening

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Dorfman's comment.

Go deeper

Capitol police condemn "criminal riotous behavior," DC police confirm 4 deaths

U.S. Capitol Police inspect a damaged entrance of the Capitol on Jan. 7 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

U.S. Capitol police confirmed that an officer shot and killed Ashli Babbitt on Wednesday during a siege of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob as Congress was set to certify Electoral College votes for Joe Biden.

Catch up quick: Capitol police released additional details of their response to the mob on Thursday, saying that people used metal pipes and chemical irritants against officers while breaching the building. Only 14 people were arrested in total by the Capitol police.

Ina Fried, author of Login
45 mins ago - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."

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