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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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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 He was granted a HK$10 million ($1.3 million) bail, before the court rescinded the ruling on Thursday and said that a judge who oversaw the case "may have erred" in granting bail.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.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Fall and winter COVID surge "unlikely" if people get vaccinated.
  2. Politics: School boards are the next political battleground.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA vaccine approval — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations.
  5. World: Asia faces massive new COVID surgeIndia records its deadliest day of the pandemic.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Kevin McCarthy officially endorses Elise Stefanik to replace Liz Cheney

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) officially endorsed Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to become the GOP's next House Republican conference chair during a Fox News appearance Sunday.

Why it matters: The GOP has been feuding internally over the fate of the current chair, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), because of her criticisms of former President Donald Trump, and her vote to impeach him for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

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