A Hong Kong court on Tuesday denied bail for government critic and newspaper publisher Jimmy Lai who is facing charges under a sweeping new national security law.
The ruling by the Court of Final Appeal comes amid heavy pressure from the Chinese government and state media to keep Lai in custody, arguing that Lai’s crimes against the state are particularly egregious and that he possesses the means to flee the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city.
Lai was arrested in a December sweep against pro-democracy activists accused over their involvement in 2019 anti-government protests. First refused bail, Lai was later released on appeal, leading to editorials attacking Hong Kong’s judiciary in the pages of the ruling Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily. He was returned to jail on New Year’s Eve ahead of a new hearing.