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Riot police mass today in Hong Kong. Photo: Ivan Cheung/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong endured one of the most violent days in five months of protests today, with police shooting a protestor at close range, protestors lighting a man on fire, and Beijing-backed leader Carrie Lam denouncing "enemies of the people."

Why it matters: More than 60 people were wounded, according to Lam, and tear gas filled the air in the Central business district in the middle of the work day. Chris Johnson, a former top CIA China analyst now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Michael Morell on the Intelligence Matters podcast that protest leaders realize violence by more "hardcore" elements risks sapping western support.

More takeaways:

1. There's a narrative in Beijing that to send in the troops would play "into a U.S. trap" to isolate China "just as our rise is hitting its stride," Johnson says.

  • "Hong Kong actually has many more things within their domestic emergency powers that they can use and would use before there was a violent crackdown [from the mainland]."

2. Chinese leaders reluctantly concede that the situation in Hong Kong will strengthen nationalists in Taiwan and virtually guarantee the re-election of President Tsai Ing-wen in January.

  • "They look at events in Hong Kong and think 'that’s one country two systems? No thank you.'"

3. Chinese elites know what's happening in Hong Kong, but many mainlanders only know the party line and buy the idea of Hong Kongers as "spoiled children who don’t understand the beneficence of China."

4. Chinese overreach isn't the only factor here. Johnson also cites a property crisis driven by "the greed of Hong Kong's tycoons."

Go deeper

Bipartisan group of senators unveil $908 billion COVID stimulus proposal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in the Capitol in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday proposed a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus package, in one of the few concrete steps toward COVID relief made by Congress in several months.

Why it matters: Recent data shows that the economic recovery is floundering as coronavirus cases surge and hospitals threaten to be overwhelmed heading into what is likely to be a grim winter.

Inside Patch's new local newsletter platform

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Patch, the hyperlocal (and profitable) local digital news company, has built a new software platform called "Patch Labs" that lets local news reporters publish their own newsletters and websites, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: It follows a growing trend of journalists going solo via newsletters at the national level.

Scoop: Politico stars plot new Playbook

Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Three of Politico’s biggest reporting stars plan to launch a competitor to the company’s Politico Playbook franchise, sources tell me. 

Why it matters:  Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and John Bresnahan will launch a daily newsletter in 2021 as a stand-alone company, the sources say. In effect, they will be competing against the Playbook franchise they helped create and grow.