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Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, a pro-democracy activist and critic of the Chinese Communist Party, has been charged on suspicion of "colluding with foreign forces" under Hong Kong's national security law, AP reports.

Why it matters: It's the most high-profile application yet of the draconian new law, which was brought into force over the summer as part of Beijing's crackdown on the city's pro-democracy movement.

The big picture: The 73-year-old founder of Hong Kong's Apple Daily tabloid will appear in court on Saturday and could face a maximum sentence of life in prison. He was arrested and denied bail earlier this month on allegations of fraud.

  • Lai has pushed for other countries to punish China for its abuses and met with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the U.S. last year to discuss Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill, which was later withdrawn after it sparked mass protests and unrest.
  • Apple Daily described the national security law on July 1 as the “final nail in the coffin” for Hong Kong's autonomy.

Background: The national security law includes sweeping definitions of crimes and penalties that gives Hong Kong's government broad power to limit people's political freedom, while explicitly denying any kind of independent oversight of the law or how it is carried out.

Go deeper: China's iron curtain descends on Hong Kong

Go deeper

China sanctions top Trump alumni one day after Uyghur genocide determination

Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

China's Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday it would sanction 28 "anti-China" U.S. politicians, including a slew of top officials from the outgoing Trump administration such as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former national security adviser John Bolton and former chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Between the lines, via Axios China expert Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: Chinese government officials have traditionally decried the use of unilateral sanctions by Western countries, even though China regularly blocks foreign companies and individuals from its markets for perceived political slights.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse under scrutiny for elite club affiliations

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in February. Photo: Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Image

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in a statement Wednesday that he is a member of an exclusive Rhode Island sailing club that lacks diversity.

Why it matters: Whitehouse has repeatedly spoken out against systemic racism and come under scrutiny this week for his family's affiliation with elite clubs. This is the second such club accused of lacking diversity that the senator has been linked to in recent days

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Border Democrats want migrants vaccinated

Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Tex.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Some Democrats representing border districts want President Biden to vaccinate migrants crossing into the U.S. — especially if he lifts public health restrictions that have prevented them from claiming asylum on American soil.

Why it matters: Inoculating migrants treads a fine line of protecting the U.S. population while possibly incentivizing more migration with the offer of free COVID-19 vaccines. Republicans are likely to pounce on that.