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Barrister Chow Hang-Tung, vice-chair of annual June 4 Tiananmen Square vigil, leaves a Hong Kong court in August after being bailed following an earlier arrest for promoting an unauthorized assembly. Photo: Alex Chan Tsz Yuk/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong police on Wednesday arrested four leaders of a group that organizes the Asian financial hub's annual Tiananmen Square massacre vigil.

Why it matters: The arrest of barrister Chow Hang Tung and other Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China activists marks the latest setback for the city's pro-democracy movement. The group has been accused of foreign collusion, in violation of the repressive national security law.

  • It comes amid a wider crackdown on groups that the government deems guilty of national security offenses or "unpatriotic" conduct.

Driving the news: In a Facebook post, the activist group shared details of a letter police sent them on Tuesday.

  • The police accused the alliance of being "an agent of foreign forces" and demanded it hand over details about members by the end of Tuesday, or risk facing six months in prison or a HK$100,000 (US$13,000) fine.
  • The group said it would not comply.

The big picture: Hong Kong police banned this year's June 4 vigil marking the anniversary of the 1989 massacre by Chinese government forces in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

  • Chow, vice chair of the alliance, was arrested the same day for promoting an unauthorized assembly.

Go deeper: Beijing's national security law takes a toll in Hong Kong

Go deeper

Oct 20, 2021 - World

Biden's ambassador nominee: "China is not an Olympian power"

Nick Burns testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee to serve as ambassador to China delivered a stark assessment of the challenges the U.S. faces in confronting Beijing, but stressed that the rising superpower is "not all-powerful" and the West retains "substantial" advantages.

The big picture: Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, used his confirmation hearing Wednesday to echo the growing bipartisan consensus that China poses "the greatest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world" in the 21st century.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.

4 hours ago - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive Care Unit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 27, 2021. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.