Dim future for American

Dim future for American

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Members of the League of Social Democrats support US whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Members of the League of Social Democrats support US whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Photo: Edward Wong/SCMP
The entire world, particularly Hong Kong, is waiting to see what will happen to Edward Snowden after he leaked details of a massive US government cyberspying programme.

According to Snowden, the National Security Agency is tracking phone calls and e-mails from American civilians in an attempt to combat terrorism.

The whistle-blower says he decided to flee to Hong Kong because it is a safe place with freedom.

He also believes Hongkongers would protest against his potential extradition to the US.

We should be proud that such a high-profile "political refugee" has chosen our city as a safe haven to continue his battle against the US authorities.

However, I was disappointed when Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying told reporters that he "cannot comment on individual cases". Debate is still raging whether Snowden is a traitor or a patriot - or can he be both at the same time? A majority of people tend to support Snowden because the US government is seen as the "Big Brother" who hacks e-mail accounts and taps phones. Many people have questioned US President Barack Obama's claim that the cybersurveillance and hacking operations were conducted solely for security reasons.

In my opinion, Snowden has given a new definition to patriotism - he put his own life in danger as he told the public what they deserved to know.

As the drama unfolds, it is interesting to see what the US will do. They have few options left. One is to file an extradition request, accusing Snowden of treason and theft of state secrets.

People may protest, but the US administration wouldn't worry too much about it.

To China, Snowden is both an asset and a burden. Beijing could easily use him as a bargaining chip in its negotiations with America.

On the other hand, his fate must be handled with care because human rights activists can be very vocal about their concerns. And there's also Hong Kong's international image as a free city to consider.

Hence, the central government shouldn't expect an easy way out that could please both parties. Beijing can be considered an unfortunate victim simply because Snowden happened to choose a Chinese city to seek refuge from America's law enforcement officers.

Either way, the future is dim for Snowden.


You might also like:

- [GRAPHIC] Young Post explains Edward Snowden's extradition options and outcomes, if and when that happens.

- Op-Ed: We don't want to live in a world where the most powerful government on Earth is unaccountable.

- Op-Ed: Like Bradley Manning, US whistleblower Edward Snowden's actions should be commended

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1 comment

Daniel Thaler

16:48pm

He didn't break Hong Kong or Chinese law. He's an American and has to answer to whatever charges have been brought against him. It's none of your business really. Why doesn't Hong Kong live up to it's extradition agreements is the real question? I think the US "got it" now concerning Hong Kong.