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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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the U.S. last year to discuss Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill, which was later withdrawn after it sparked mass protests and unrest.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.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The judge said the most prominent far-right figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.