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A plaque depicting Alfred Nobel adorns the lectern prior to the 2015 ceremony in Oslo, Norway. Photo: Ragnar Singsaas / Getty Images

A group of 12 bipartisan lawmakers, led by Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Chris Smith, has nominated 3 controversial Hong Kong leaders and "the entire pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong" to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.

Why it matters: U.S. lawmakers, and especially Rubio, appear to be ramping up the human rights pressure on the PRC. It may go nowhere but it is at least another sign of the growing contentiousness in U.S.-China relations.

Beijing's response: Livid, as expected.

The gritty details, from the letter:

"We, the undersigned members of the United States Congress, respectfully nominate Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Alex Chow Yong-kang, and the entire pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, collectively known as the “Umbrella Movement,” to receive the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of their peaceful efforts to bring political reform and self-determination to Hong Kong and protect the autonomy and freedom guaranteed Hong Kong in the Sino-British Joint Declaration."

In addition to an official denunciation, the Communist Party tabloid "Global Times" has weighed in with "Ludicrous to tout Hong Kong rabble rousers for a Nobel Peace Prize." Some details from the editorial:

"The nomination of Wong and the other two for a Nobel Peace Prize showed the US congressmen's ill will toward China. They obviously want to send a signal that whoever opposes Beijing in Hong Kong will be supported by the US."
"Even by Western standards, Wong and the others are too young. By nominating them for the Nobel Peace Prize, the West is adopting pets — and it looks ludicrous. "
"Wong and the others have in fact become tools for anti-China forces in the West...There is no honor to be found in pursing their wrongful path of betraying the interests of Hong Kong and the motherland. "

Go deeper

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.

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