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For decades, Jimmy Lai has embodied the spirit of defiance in Hong Kong. He fled Communist China at the age of 12 to work in a garment factory, launched a pro-democracy media empire after the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown and became one of the world’s best known critics of Beijing.

The city got a different glimpse of Lai on a recent Saturday in December: Shackled at the wrists, with a metal chain around his waist, the 73-year-old shuffled slowly into court flanked by two correctional officers.

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