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Your Monday Briefing


China tackles an outbreak in Kashgar.
The authorities in China have ordered widespread testing and travel restrictions for the city of Kashgar in the country’s far west after a single asymptomatic case of coronavirus was detected on Saturday. By Sunday afternoon,137 asymptomatic cases had been discovered. A 17-year-old girl in a rural area outside Kashgar was found to be infected during regular testing, which set off mass testing. All the other cases found are connected to a factory where her parents work. The Xinjiang region, which includes Kashgar, was under various lockdowns in February and March and again in July and August. Until Saturday, the region had not reported a new case since mid-August. The outbreak of the virus there early this year prompted concerns that it could spread in the vast network of camps and prisons where hundreds of thousands of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities have been detained. Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic. In other developments: For decades, Hong Kong had been a place of shelter for people escaping war, famine and political oppression in mainland China. But the city has profoundly changed since China imposed a tough new security law this summer. In recent weeks, Hong Kong activists have been granted asylum in the U.S., Canada and Germany, the latest catalyst for deteriorating relations between China and the West. U.S. moves: The Trump administration has listed refugees from the city as a priority, even as it reduced the total number of refugees the U.S. will take in annually. At least three bills now before Congress would enact greater protections for people fleeing Hong Kong for the U.S. And the government has moved unusually quickly to grant asylum to at least two protesters who left Hong Kong late last year. China’s response: Beijing and the Hong Kong government have dismissed the notion that the city’s residents might need shelter from oppression. Hong Kong’s No.2 leader, Matthew Cheung, complained that Germany’s grant of asylum last week to a university student wanted on a rioting charge would “only send a plainly wrong message to criminals.” Today, for the first time, a group of conscientious objectors in South Korea will begin to perform alternative service. For the next three years, these 64 men will be in prison, working at jobs like cook and janitor, but they will have no criminal record. Alternative service is a seismic shift in South Korea, where military duty is considered a rite of passage for young men and more conscientious objectors have been jailed than in any other country.

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