Minitrue: Follow Xinhua on Donald Tsang Ruling
The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.
All websites: no media or websites may report the Court of Final Appeal’s June 26 ruling that former [Hong Kong] Chief Executive Donald Tsang is not guilty, with the exception of Xinhua copy directed at Hong Kong and abroad. (June 25, 2019) [Chinese]
Tsang was released in January after serving a 12-month sentence for failing to disclose plans to rent a luxury apartment from a businessman granted a government broadcasting license.
A panel of five judges on the Court of Final Appeal ruled that the judge at Tsang’s trial had not given jurors sufficient directions on assessing whether he had deliberately concealed information before finding him guilty in 2017. The judges also ordered that no retrial be held.
[…] Tsang’s successor C.Y. Leung also became embroiled in a corruption scandal for failing to report a 50 million Hong Kong dollar ($6.4 million) payout from an Australian engineering firm but was not prosecuted. [Source]
The current chief executive Carrie Lam, meanwhile, is under intense public pressure over her handling of proposed extradition rules and subsequent protests. A South China Morning Post editorial on June 26 hailed the Tsang result as evidence of the continued good health of Hong Kong’s justice system, fears for which have been at the center of opposition to the extradition changes.
[… T]he ruling by the Court of Final Appeal proves that judicial independence and the rule of law are alive and well. Tsang is the most senior Hong Kong official charged for corruption and misconduct.
Despite unsubstantiated claims that the prosecution was vindictive, the legal process has taken its course. He was later convicted for failing to declare an interest in a property deal with a businessman, an outcome that shows no one is above the law.
[…] Long before the trial began, Tsang openly apologised for the loss of public confidence in his government after the media exposed his questionable dealings with tycoons. What he did was no doubt politically and morally inappropriate; but the threshold for criminal conviction is much higher. [Source]
Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. Some instructions are issued by local authorities or to specific sectors, and may not apply universally across China. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source. See CDT’s collection of Directives from the Ministry of Truth