One of China’s leading newspapers has called for Beijing not to return US whistleblower Edward Snowden to America, saying that to take such action would be a “disappointment for expectations around the world.”
Chinese newspaper The Global Times published an article calling for China to “safeguard its interests”, describing extraditing Snowden back to the US as a “betrayal of Snowden’s trust”
The editorial published on Monday argued Mr Snowden’s leaks had cost the US its image of defender of a free internet. “After losing this image”, the article said, “which has been abused by the US government to boss others around, there is no way it won't want Snowden to be extradited.”
Mr Snowden had left for Hong Kong earlier this month with documents that exposed details of the National Security Alliance’s Prism surveillance programme. He then fled the Hong Kong hotel room where he gave his initial interview from and his exact current location remains unknown. Part of his allegations include that his documents show cybersurveillance on targets in Hong Kong and the mainland.
The article strongly defended Snowden’s actions and said Beijing needs to demonstrate to Washington that it cannot be pushed according to their wishes. It suggested that if the decision to extradite him is taken, Hong Kong’s image would be tarnished forever. “Snowden did not hurt anybody," they said. “His ‘crime’ is that he blew the whistle on the US government's violation of civil rights. His action supported ‘human rights’ as defined in the UN Charter, and has been applauded worldwide
“Snowden believes in the democracy and freedom of Hong Kong. His whistle-blowing is in the global public interest. Therefore, extraditing Snowden back to the US would not only be a betrayal of Snowden's trust, but a disappointment for expectations around the world.”
The article finished by calling on the Chinese government to follow the public interest and continue with its “no-comment attitude”.