Friday, June 18

Jimmy Lai Is Ordered Back to Jail by Hong Kong’s Top Court

HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s highest court ordered Jimmy Lai, the pro-democracy publishing tycoon, back to jail on Thursday, just days after he was freed on bail, the latest twist in the continuing, flip-flopping legal battle over one of the city’s most prominent antigovernment figures.

The fate of Mr. Lai, the most prominent person to be charged under Hong Kong’s sweeping new national security law, has been seen by some as a barometer of the independence of the city’s judiciary. After being accused of colluding with “foreign forces,” including by calling for sanctions against Hong Kong, Mr. Lai was denied bail earlier this month.

But he won release on appeal last week, albeit under unusually strict conditions, including house arrest and a ban on using social media or speaking to reporters. The Hong Kong government immediately appealed that decision to the Court of Final Appeal, the city’s highest court.

The Chinese Communist Party’s official news outlets attacked the lower court judge’s decision to grant bail, calling Mr. Lai — the founder of the ardently pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily — “notorious and extremely dangerous.” The state-run outlets even raised the possibility that a mainland Chinese court could take over the case, as is permitted under the national security law.

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