June 24, 2013
The US has gone from ‘model of human rights’ to manipulator of internet rights, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party wrote. China has struck back at the US over its allegations that Beijing allowed NSA leaker Edward Snowden to leave Hong Kong.
The damning article in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily, the party’s official newspaper, came in response to Washington’s accusations of the “deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant.”
Addressing Washington’s allegations, the People’s Daily wrote that China could not accept “this kind of dissatisfaction and opposition.”
“Not only did the US authorities not give us an explanation and apology, it instead expressed dissatisfaction at the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for handling things in accordance with the law,” wrote Wang Xinjun, a researcher at the Academy of Military Science in the People’s Daily commentary.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying also denounced the US accusations as “groundless and unacceptable.”
“It is unreasonable for the US to question Hong Kong’s handling of affairs in accordance with law, and the accusation against the Chinese central government is groundless,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.
The Hong Kong government released an official statement on Sunday, saying that US fugitive Edward Snowden had left the Chinese territory for Moscow legally and voluntarily. The statement also mentioned that the extradition documents submitted by the US on charges of espionage were not sufficient to warrant Snowden’s arrest under Chinese law.
The column praises the former CIA contractor for “his fearlessness that tore off Washington’s sanctimonious mask.”Snowden has been branded by the US as ‘traitor’ by US politicians for the leaking of classified documents to The Guardian newspaper that revealed the existence of the spy program PRISM.
“In a sense, the United States has gone from a model of human rights to an eavesdropper on personal privacy, the manipulator of the centralized power over the international internet, and the mad invader of other countries’ networks,” the People’s Daily said.
The case of Edward Snowden has captivated world media since he fled from the US in May. Although the fugitive’s whereabouts are unknown, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange confirmed to RT that Snowden was en route to Ecuador via Moscow accompanied by WikiLeaks legal representative Sarah Harrison.
Russian journalists wait for the arrival of former US spy Edward Snowden at the Moscow Sheremetevo airport on June 23, 2013. (AFP Photo)
Snowden was checked in for a flight from Moscow to Havana, Cuba, yesterday, but there was no sign of him on the plane, according to RT’s correspondent Egor Piskunov. As a consequence, it is now thought that he is still in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.
The whistleblower has applied for asylum in Ecuador and the country’s government confirmed that it is processing the application.
Amnesty urges US: ‘Refrain from manhunt’
The US has called on all countries in the northern hemisphere to surrender Snowden to US jurisdiction and has resolved to seek cooperation from his destination country. However human rights organization Amnesty International has launched an appeal, urging the US not to prosecute anyone who discloses data on US government human right violations.
“No one should be charged under any law for disclosing information of human rights violations by the US government. Such disclosures are protected under the rights to information and freedom of expression,” said Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International.
In addition, the organization also stressed that an individual who has an asylum bid underway cannot legally be extradited.