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Hong Kong riot police issue a warning as they aim to clear away people gathered downtownon Wednesday. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong riot police fired pepper pellets at activists and surrounded the Legislative Council during demonstrations against a bill proposing to criminalize "disrespect of the Chinese Anthem" on Wednesday, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The bill is the latest concern pro-democracy protesters have that Chinese authorities are encroaching on the high degree of autonomy the former British colony has retained since it was returned to China in 1997.

The big picture: The Asian financial hub was crippled last year during several flash-points between police and protesters rallying in their tens of thousands against China's attempts to introduce an extradition bill that was later withdrawn.

  • Protesters held smaller protests maintaining physical-distancing as the novel coronavirus hit Hong Kong this year, with authorities banning gatherings of more than eight people.
  • But clashes between police and demonstrators returned on Sunday, as thousands rallied against China's plans to implement a national security law.

What to watch: White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien warned Sunday that the U.S. will likely impose economic sanctions on Hong Kong and China if Beijing moves ahead with the proposed security law.

Go deeper

Sep 1, 2020 - World

Xinjiang residents reportedly forced to take medicine amid coronavirus fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Rumors have swirled for months that local authorities pressed residents of Xinjiang, a far northwestern region in China, to take traditional Chinese medicine during the coronavirus pandemic. Now a new report from the Associated Press based on interviews, public notices and social media posts suggests this may be true.

Why it matters: Forcing an entire population to take medicine that has not been clinically proven to be effective against the coronavirus could be a breach of medical ethics.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.