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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 He was granted a HK$10 million ($1.3 million) bail, before the court rescinded the ruling on Thursday and said that a judge who oversaw the case "may have erred" in granting bail.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 34 mins ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Alabama's new congressional map rejected by federal judges

The Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Federal judges on Monday night blocked Alabama's newly drawn congressional map and ordered the Republican-led State Legislature to create a new one that includes two districts, rather than the planned one.

Why it matters: "Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress," the panel of three judges wrote in their ruling.

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