One of China's leading newspapers is asking NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden not to be returned to the US, calling his potential extradition a "betrayal" in a statement Monday which has garnered considerable attention, providing further evidence of the overwhelming global support of Snowden and his actions.
Discussing the potential of Snowden being turned over to U.S. officials, The Global Times writes:
It would be a face-losing outcome for both the Hong Kong SAR government and the Chinese Central government if Snowden is extradited back to the US. Unlike a common criminal, Snowden did not hurt anybody. 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 image of Hong Kong would be forever tarnished.
As the AFP reports, Snowden "has exposed not only US cyber-espionage but also political fault lines in Hong Kong that are deepening as the territory, a proud bastion of free speech and protest, chafes under Chinese rule."
According to experts, the incident provides a significant test of civil liberties, saying that it will "set a landmark on whether the city can govern itself without interference from Beijing."
Chief Executive of Hong Kong Leung Chun-ying has said that the government will handle the case "in accordance with the laws and established procedures of Hong Kong."
In the op-ed, The Global Times references a poll by the South China Morning Post that reveals that the majority of Hong Kong residents oppose extraditing Snowden to the US.
As for a potential obligation for China to aid the US, the unspecified author concludes, "the Chinese government has no responsibility to help the US quench the fire."
Lucia Brown is a summer editorial intern at Common Dreams.