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Hundreds of Hong Kongers have defied the threat of prosecution to protest against the charging of 47 pro-democracy politicians swept up in the city’s biggest national security law case.

Protesters gathered outside a bail hearing for the arrested activists on Monday, chanting slogans including “Regain HK, revolution of our times”, a phrase authorities said violated the security law.

The former elected lawmakers and activists — who included Joshua Wong, the opposition leader already jailed in a separate case — were charged with subversion on Sunday in a move that highlighted the government’s determination to crush dissent in the city, critics said.

Bing Ling, a professor of Chinese law at the University of Sydney, said the last time so many people had been charged with subversion in China was probably in the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen protests in Beijing. “It’s quite exceptional what has been done in Hong Kong even by Chinese standards,” Ling said. (FT)

Coronavirus digest

Bar chart of Covid-19 shots under contract (doses bn) showing Vaccine makers race to supply the world

In the news

Nicolas Sarkozy sentenced to jail for corruption The former French president has been sentenced to three years in prison, including two suspended, after a Paris court found him guilty of corruption and influence peddling. Sarkozy, who maintained his innocence and will appeal, is the second French leader under the Fifth Republic to be convicted after leaving office. (FT)

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy leaves a Paris courthouse on Monday after being found guilty of corruption and influence peddling © Reuters
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy leaves a Paris courthouse on Monday after being found guilty of corruption and influence peddling © Reuters

Hong Kong to overhaul Hang Seng Hong Kong is planning to double the number of stocks in its benchmark index, in a shake-up that will better reflect the growing dominance of Chinese listings in the city’s market. Separately, global stocks bounced back and government debt rallied on Monday after last week’s turbulent trading. (FT)

US risks losing semiconductor edge After a two-year study, the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence has concluded that the US risks losing its superiority in semiconductors that are critical for commercial and military success because of its reliance on Taiwanese chip manufacturers. (FT)

ASSK makes court appearance Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi appeared at a court hearing via video conference on Monday, the first time her lawyers had seen her since she was detained in the February 1 military coup. (Reuters)

A protester holds a poster with the image of detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a demonstration © AFP via Getty Images

China’s exporters hit by shortage of shipping containers The surge in exports from China to the west, combined with disruption at ports caused by coronavirus, has left many containers out of position, resulting in queues of ships outside ports and soaring freight rates. The cost of sending a 40-foot container from China to the US has more than quadrupled in the past year. (FT)

Biden pushed to take action against Uighur abuses US lawmakers and human rights activists are pressing Joe Biden to make a tough response to China’s repression of 1m Uighurs in Xinjiang, which Antony Blinken, secretary of state, has called “genocide”. (FT)

Japan prepares to shake up corporate code Japan will push listed companies to allocate at least a third of their board seats to independent directors as the country’s Financial Services Agency prepares a raft of tough revisions to its corporate governance code. (FT)

“Some people also want us to go beyond just the proportion and look at the role of independent directors and how they can be more effective,” said Ryozo Himino, FSA commissioner.

Cuomo’s problems deepen anxiety of NY business leaders The mounting scandals engulfing Governor Andrew Cuomo are deepening business leaders’ anxiety about New York’s political climate as the state attempts to recover from the pandemic. Former federal prosecutor Elkan Abramowitz will represent the Cuomo administration. (FT, Reuters)

FT’s Tech Tonic podcast is back

Every minute we collectively send 190m emails, 59m messages and 19m texts. We conduct 4.1m Google searches and swipe 1.6m times on Tinder. In the first episode of the FT’s new Tech Tonic podcast, innovation editor John Thornhill examines the promises and dangers of our accelerated online world. Click here to listen.

“Technology as the saying goes, is neither positive nor negative. But nor is it neutral. We must guard against the risks of the data economy running out of control, and we should become wise enough to direct it to our ends.” — John Thornhill

The day ahead

Asean foreign minister meeting Officials will hold a special meeting on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Myanmar following the February 1 coup and arrest of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. (Bangkok Post)

Fed board governor speaks Lael Brainard will give a speech on the US economic outlook on Tuesday. Brainard on Monday urged regulators to continue to address weaknesses in the short-term lending markets. (FT, WSJ)

Eurozone inflation figures The bloc’s inflation hit its highest level since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in January, after five months of falling prices. On Tuesday the eurozone’s statistics body will publish a flash estimate of February’s level, which is expected to continue the upward trend. (FT)

What else we’re reading

Goldman to McKinsey: been there, done that Whoever succeeds Kevin Sneader at the helm of McKinsey should give Goldman Sachs boss David Solomon a call, writes Patrick Jenkins. Both institutions have suffered for some of the very reasons that had made them successful — pride in their excellence had turned to arrogance. (FT)

Where liberals and security hawks can find common ground Defence hawks and liberal progressives do not typically make easy political bedfellows. And yet there is an issue where their interests may align almost perfectly: climate change, writes Rana Foroohar. (FT)

© Matt Kenyon

Selling an Amazon union in Alabama The ecommerce giant launched an “aggressive” anti-union campaign as its workers in Bessemer, Alabama vote on whether to organise. But some workers don’t need to be convinced. Among employees, “anti-union sentiment run[s] at least as hot as pro-union passions”. (Bloomberg)

Murdoch at 90 By his own reckoning, Rupert Murdoch was supposed to die a fortnight ago. But the media mogul, perhaps the last of the continent-straddling press barons, is steaming towards his 90th birthday on March 11. In his twilight years, the question of what happens to the Murdoch media dynasty still seems as vexed as ever. (FT)

Hey Citi, your bitcoin report is embarrassingly bad One of the world’s top investment banks put out a report that is causing quite a stir across the crypto-net and beyond. Citi claims that “bitcoin’s global reach and neutrality could spur it to become the currency of choice for international trade” (!), and quite frankly the idea that the report is either well done or fair is absurd, writes Jemima Kelly. (FT)

Video of the day

Gillian Tett explains ESG’s importance Companies and investors are no longer able to ignore the impact of environmental and social governance issues. The FT’s Gillian Tett explains why boardrooms are now reacting rapidly to changing popular opinion in this arena

Video: Gillian Tett explains ESG’s importance

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