Emily Feng

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More than 250 new cases of the coronavirus in the last two weeks have been linked to a sprawling produce market in Beijing. As NPR's Emily Feng reports, the city is sparing no measure to contain the outbreak.

Updated 1:15 a.m. Monday

China's capital of Beijing has discovered 79 symptomatic new cases of the coronavirus since Thursday, leading city authorities to resurrect lockdown measures and elevating fears of a second wave of infections.

Since the coronavirus pandemic battered China's economy, tens of millions of urban and factory jobs have evaporated.

Some workers and business owners have banded together to pressure companies or local governments for subsidies and payouts.

But many of the newly unemployed have instead returned to their rural villages. China's vast countryside now serves as an unemployment sponge, soaking up floating migrant workers in temporary agricultural work on small family plots.

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Hong Kong's legislature has passed a bill making it a crime to poke fun at China's national anthem — a move that puts new limits on anniversary events marking the Tiananmen Square massacre. Under the ban, it is illegal to alter the lyrics of the anthem, or to sing it "in a distorted or disrespectful way."

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So how did the protests in the United States look in China? NPR's Emily Feng is in Beijing. Hi, Emily.

EMILY FENG, BYLINE: Hey, Steve.

INSKEEP: How big a story is this for the state-controlled media where you are?

China is moving closer toward imposing a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, which activists and pro-democracy lawmakers say would effectively end whatever autonomy the city enjoys from Beijing.

On Thursday, China's national legislature approved a motion to begin drafting the law, which would prohibit four broad categories of activity in Hong Kong: sedition, subversion of state power, foreign interference and terrorism — as defined by China.

The United States put up another major roadblock this month against Huawei, as China's big telecommunications company moves to set up the latest 5G mobile networks worldwide.

On May 19, the Commerce Department issued new export rules to choke off Huawei's access to semiconductor chips it needs to build cellphones and 5G infrastructure.

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Thousands of protesters were on the streets of Hong Kong over the weekend.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Singing in non-English language).

China is scrapping its annual economic growth targets for the first time since 1990, when it started announcing such economic figures, as its leaders grapple with the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In China's centrally planned economy, Beijing's GDP target serves as an all-important touchstone on which local governments and state enterprises fix their annual policies and investments.

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Beijing has signaled it will push through sweeping national security legislation for Hong Kong, its most aggressive effort yet to exert its control over the semi-autonomous city since it was returned to Chinese control in 1997.

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In her now-world-famous writing, Chinese author Fang Fang implores: "The departed are gone, but the living must go on. As before. I just hope we can remember."

For months, South Korea has been praised as a model and a beacon of hope for the world in its desperate fight to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In early February, China's ruling Communist Party was facing one of its biggest political crises in more than three decades. A rapidly spreading outbreak of the new coronavirus was a "massive risk and challenge" to social stability, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned top party officials in an internal speech that was later published publicly.

China's leaders have declared the coronavirus outbreak largely under control within its borders. Now, the authorities are working to control the narrative of how the country contained the virus by questioning and even detaining people who might possess information that challenges the official line.

Those being questioned include Internet-savvy archivists; families and their legal counsel suing the state for damages from the coronavirus epidemic; and even lauded volunteers who staffed critical emergency services from the epicenter city of Wuhan.

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States across the country are easing stay-at-home restrictions this week, but the pandemic is far from over here in the U.S. The rate of new coronavirus cases is going up in some states, and the number of deaths has climbed past 70,000.

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More than two months after he watched his father die of the new coronavirus, Zhang Hai has yet to bury him. The 50-year-old Wuhan native wants to pay his last respects alone — but that's now against government rules.

"[My father's] work unit called and made it very clear that I have to be accompanied when I retrieve the ashes," Zhang recalled. "Maybe they are well-intentioned, but I just want to collect my father's ashes alone before burying him. I do not want to have strangers around."

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Tens of thousands of people streamed out of Wuhan by car, train and plane after a 76-day lockdown was lifted Wednesday from the Chinese city where the global coronavirus pandemic began.

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