John Ruwitch

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Before COVID-19, few scientists would have pegged the city of Wuhan, in temperate central China, as a likely starting point for a global coronavirus pandemic. Its climate and fauna don't fit the bill.

But the city of 11 million straddling the Yangtze River is home to some of China's most advanced biological research laboratories. And one of the secretive, state-run institutions, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, is known to conduct experiments on the kind of virus that has killed nearly 3 million people worldwide so far since late 2019.

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More than 50 people were arrested in Hong Kong in morning raids yesterday. It is the biggest roundup of pro-democracy activists and politicians since a new national security law was introduced last summer. NPR China correspondent John Ruwitch looks at what's behind this latest move.

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