HK heavyweights plead for leniency for convicted ex-leader Donald Tsang

Local | 20 Feb 2017 8:25 pm

The list of people who wrote mitigation letters for Donald Tsang was a virtual who's who of politics – from the former chief executive's ex-colleagues to some of his most prominent rivals. 

The longest and most elaborate plea for leniency was penned by former secretary for justice, Wong Yan-lung. 

In a 10-page letter, he praised Tsang's 'courageous' defense of the rule of law in Hong Kong, as well as its judicial independence. 

Wong said the former leader stood for what he thought was right, and cited examples such as his role in pushing through political reforms in 2010. 

Tsang had, he said, risked his personal credibility and trust before the central government by taking on board changes proposed by the Democratic Party – ultimately securing its passage and bringing Hong Kong closer to full democracy. 

A year later, the former justice chief said, Tsang helped ward off a potential constitutional crisis – by pushing to let Hong Kong's top court settle a controversial case involving foreign states. 

There had been talk that Beijing could have stepped in with a Basic Law interpretation. But Wong said throughout, Tsang gave his "solid and staunch" support for his stance against any extra-judicial measure. 

Other officials also highlighted Tsang’s effort that benefitted Hong Kong. 

They recounted how he fought against the financial crisis in 1998 as the Financial Secretary, the Sars outbreak in 2003 as Chief Secretary, and worked on the political reform as Chief Executive in 2010. 

Former chief secretary Carrie Lam called him her role model in public service. Another former chief secretary Anson Chan noted that his 45-years of public service has now come to nought and his reputation is in ruins. 

She said what Tsang and his family had to endure in the past five years has already been a form of punishment. 

In a jointly signed letter, veteran democrats including Martin Lee and Albert Ho said although Tsang does not have a perfect score for his political achievements, he has given his utmost efforts to serve the people and has their respect and acknowledgement. -RTHK

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