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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

Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause (R), chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality, or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.

5 hours ago - World

Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi's government to return to the negotiating table.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

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