Background to the Stand News case from VOA – ‘conspiring to publish seditious publications’.
Updated threads from Su Xinqi. Here: the judge has allowed all articles submitted as evidence, regardless of time limitations in the sedition law. Bizarrely, one of the articles is a commentary describing the use of the archaic sedition offense as a form of lawfare. You can get nailed for calling lawfare ‘lawfare’.
Even by NatSec-trial standards this is becoming grotesque, with the prosecution virtually implying that the editors attempted to cause rather than report political controversy and civil strife. The allegations (drawing on Su’s translation) include publishing articles that: promoted the ‘unlawful beliefs’ (SCMP uses ‘illegal ideologies’) of political candidates; beautified/glamorized ‘criminal’ dissidents in exile; tried to ‘reignite conflicts that had turned cold’; and smearing the NatSec Law.
Standard report mentions other evidence against Stand News: the publication had a ‘political’ stance (‘commitment to democracy, human rights, freedom and the rule of law’), and it received a surge in donations during 2019 from readers who shared the stance. The SCMP quotes the prosecution as saying…
Stand News published feature stories on public figures such as unlawful activists, absconded criminals and wanted suspects…
Where are the crimes here? At this rate, the Mainland charge of ‘picking quarrels’ is just around the corner.
And 18 pan-dems pleading not guilty to ‘conspiracy to commit subversion’ (trying to win an election) will have to wait until after Lunar New Year for the trial to start. That’s nearly two years after their original arrest. It will ‘hopefully’ conclude by summer. No jury, of course. The system meanwhile seems to require others who have pleaded guilty – many in jail ever since being charged – to wait out the trial before their sentencing. Is this process or punishment?