Hong Kong risks US anger by giving Snowden clean exit
The Hong Kong government will not have endeared itself to the United States by giving a clean exit to Edward Snowden, the former contractor with the National Security Agency who has leaked secrets about its internet and telephone snooping programmes.
In short order, however, it has rid itself of a very hot legal and diplomatic potato.
On Saturday US officials called Hong Kong a “good partner of the United States in law enforcement matters”. It was one way of saying. “We expect you ‘to do the right thing’”.
But the territory has Beijing to think about as well as Washington and its idea of the ‘right thing’ was clearly different. Since the 1997 hand-over from Britain, Hong Kong has had considerable autonomy, but on matters defence or national security mainland China takes charge.
“It's a shocker,” commented Simon Young, a law professor with Hong Kong University. “I thought he was going to stay and fight it out. The US government will be irate.”
It is because American fury was inevitable that the territory’s government found not one but two ways to cover itself in the press communique released after the 30-year-old American boarded a plane for Moscow. It said he US request for the provisional warrant of arrest for him “did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law”. It also wanted to know more about Mr Snowden’s claim that the NSA has been spying on Hong Kong.
The territory’s extradition treaty with the US does raise complications because of exemptions in cases of ‘political crimes’. But Hong Kong seemed to say the US had mucked up the legal documentation that was meant to facilitate Snowden’s extradition. Because it “has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr. Snowden from leaving Hong Kong,” the territory said.
Trickier diplomatically was the suggestion that Washington was in any event in no position throw stones or ask for any favours if indeed it has been intruding where it is not welcome on Hong Kong and Chinese networks. “The HKSAR Government has formally written to the US Government requesting clarification on earlier reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies,” the communique read.
In latest excerpts of an interview given to the South China Morning Post, Snowden suggests that the United States has just in the last year been spying for example both on the Tsinghua University in Beijing and Chinese University in Hong Kong because both campuses are major internet traffic hubs.
There was no direct White House reaction to the actions of Hong Kong, but a senior Obama administration official said, “Obviously this raises concerns for us and we'll continue to discuss with the authorities there.”
"Washington should come clean about its record first,” Xinhua, the official news agency for mainland China noted in an editorial meanwhile, saying the situation for Washington had become “awkward”. The US “owes ... an explanation to China and other countries it has allegedly spied on," it said. "It has to share with the world the range, extent and intent of its clandestine hacking programme.”
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Giorgio Armani criticises the way some gay men dress saying 'a man has to be a man'
Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
'Jihadi John': Isis executioner Mohammed Emwazi wanted to wage jihad in Somalia until his friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Executive is required to...
£16000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued expansion, an ...
£65000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A long-established, tech...