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Jimmy Lai in handcuffs being escorted by the guards on Dec. 12, 2020 in Hong Kong, China. Photo: Keith Tsuji/Getty Images

A Hong Kong court on Thursday ordered pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai back into custody for charges brought under the city's draconian national security law, just over a week after he was initially released on bail, Reuters reports.

The state of play: Lai is the most high-profile figure to be charged under the law. He was granted a HK$10 million ($1.3 million) bail, before the court rescinded the ruling on Thursday and said that a judge who oversaw the case "may have erred" in granting bail.

  • Lai has been accused of "colluding with foreign forces" for comments he made over the summer about Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, which prosecutors say amount to requesting foreign interference.
  • The terms of his bail barred Lai from speaking to the press, using social media and meeting with foreign officials.

The big picture: The implementation of the security law, under which dozens of people have been charged, has "resulted in a wave of self-censorship," Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian notes.

  • The law includes broad definitions of crimes — specifically on secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion — allowing for the Hong Kong government to freely implement the law without any specific oversight.

What's next: Lai will be back in court on Feb. 1 for another appeal hearing about his bail.

Go deeper: Hong Kong's worst case scenario is happening

Go deeper

Jan 6, 2021 - World

Hong Kong police arrest 50 pro-democracy leaders under security law

Hong Kong barrister and former politician Alvin Yeung is among those arrested in the latest crackdown. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

A group of former lawmakers were among dozens of pro-democracy activists arrested on Wednesday under the national security law imposed by China, per opposition groups and local media.

Why it matters: Hong Kong had enjoyed a high degree of autonomy, but the passage of the sweeping security law by Chinese lawmakers last June has led to a major crackdown on the pro-democracy movement. It has escalated in recent weeks, with the arrests of activists including media tycoon Jimmy Lai and the imprisonment of other prominent figures like Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."

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