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Why it matters: The U.S. has responded to standoffs with North Korea, Russia, Iran and Venezuela in unorthodox and unpredictable ways. Alliances are rupturing, authoritarians are rising, and China is steadily becoming the most powerful rival America has ever faced.

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To understand China today, look to the Mongols

Credit: HarperCollins

China's road to its empire, and the expansive borders it claims today, started not with Han Chinese dynasties in 221 BC but with the Mongol invasion in the 13th century, historian Timothy Brook argues in a new book.

What they're saying: "Great State: China and the World," published by HarperCollins and slated for release on March 17, argues that the Mongol concept of the "great state," or yeke ulus, was adopted by China's subsequent dynasties and would later define China's relationship with its neighbors and the world.

Go deeperArrow9 hours ago - World

Citing China fears, Rubio urges CFIUS review of AT&T media deal

Rubio. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has requested a government review of AT&T's pending sale of a European media company to a Czech financial firm, in a letter viewed by Axios.

Why it matters: The letter demonstrates growing concern on Capitol Hill over China-linked mergers and acquisitions involving American assets.

Go deeperArrow10 hours ago - World

China slaps 10-year sentence on kidnapped Swedish citizen

Signs showing missing bookseller Lee Bo (L) and his associate Gui Minhai (R). Photo: Phillippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

After a five-year saga that provoked an international outcry, a Chinese court has sentenced Swedish citizen Gui Minhai to 10 years in prison for "providing intelligence overseas."

Background: In 2015, Chinese authorities secretly kidnapped Gui, a Hong Kong-based Swedish citizen known for writing and selling books critical of China’s leaders, from his apartment in Thailand and brought him to mainland China.

Go deeperArrow12 hours ago - World

Between the lines on Chinese strategy: "Borrowing a boat to go out on the ocean"

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In this recurring feature from the Axios China newsletter, I'll interview an expert about a Chinese Communist Party phrase to explain the news.

This week's phrase: "Borrowing a boat to go out on the ocean." (借船出海)

What it means: Placing Chinese Communist Party messaging and approved content into media outlets abroad, either overtly or covertly.

Go deeperArrow12 hours ago - World

Scoop: Census Bureau is paying Chinese state media to reach Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign, which sends U.S. taxpayer dollars to community media outlets to run ads about the upcoming census, is including a Chinese state-run broadcaster as one of its media vendors.

Why it matters: After China's yearslong campaign to co-opt independent Chinese-language media in the U.S., Washington is now paying Beijing-linked media outlets in order to reach Chinese Americans.

Go deeperArrow12 hours ago - World

GOP congressman accuses California pension official of working for China

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The latest season of Red Scare has come to Sacramento.

Driving the news: Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) has repeatedly accused Ben Meng, chief investment officer of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), of tacitly working on behalf of the Chinese government. Banks also says that, were it up to him, Meng would be fired — and has questioned the patriotism of California Gov. Gavin Newsom for not at least investigating Meng.

Go deeperArrow14 hours ago - World

Pope Francis celebrates Ash Wednesday Mass amid Italian coronavirus outbreak

Pope Francis during Ash Wednesday Mass in 2019. Photo: Vatican Pool/Getty Images

Pope Francis celebrated Ash Wednesday Mass at the Vatican, despite the cancellation of religious services elsewhere in Italy thanks to an ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus, AP reports.

Why it matters: Mass gatherings in close proximity — like religious services and sporting events — could become an easy way for the virus to spread as the outbreak widens across the globe.

Go deeperArrow15 hours ago - World

Deadly Delhi clashes: What you need to know

Supporters of a new citizenship law throw stones at the burning houses and shops of those who oppose the law during clashes in Delhi, India. Photo: Yawar Nazir/ Getty Images

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for the Indian Army to be called in on Wednesday as the capital's worst religious violence in decades entered a third day.

What's happening: The BBC reports at least 20 people have been killed and 189 others wounded since Sunday in the clashes between Hindu and Muslim groups over a new citizenship law.

Go deeperArrow21 hours ago - World

In photos: How coronavirus is impacting cities around the world

Revellers take part in the "Plague Doctors Procession" in Venice on Tuesday night during the usual period of the Carnival festivities, most of which have been canceled following the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy. Photo: Andrea Pattaro/AFP via Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has spread from China to infect people in more than 40 countries and territories around the world, killing over 2,700 people.

The big picture: Most of the 80,000 COVID-19 infections have occurred in mainland China. But cases are starting to surge elsewhere. By Wednesday morning, the worst affected countries outside China were South Korea (1,146), where a U.S. soldier tested positive to the virus, Italy (332), Japan (170), Iran (95) and Singapore (91). On Tuesday, new cases were confirmed in Switzerland, Croatia and Algeria.

See photosArrow23 hours ago - World
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