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  • Jul 22, 2014
  • Updated: 10:25pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 June, 2013, 3:44am

How C.Y. won this spying game

For once, Leung Chun-ying and his administration have proved to be cleverer than their critics and even the Americans. The explosive revelations by Edward Snowden about pervasive US cyberspying have been a propaganda coup for Beijing, but his presence in Hong Kong was a major embarrassment for the administration. Many people were baying for a legal showdown in the courts for his extradition. By shipping him out quietly, Leung has avoided a legal and diplomatic quagmire.

Beijing yesterday praised Snowden as a young idealist who has "torn off Washington's sanctimonious mask". Well, you would say that if you had been handed such an unexpected diplomatic gift from the heavens. Many within Leung's office, however, will now worry about antagonising the US government by letting Snowden go.

But, in fact, there was no way to please the Americans other than binding and gagging Snowden onboard a one-way plane to a legal hell that would await him in the US. Yes, plenty of US allies, both democracies and dictatorships, have done just that for Uncle Sam in the US wars on terror and drugs. Fortunately, Hong Kong still respects human rights, unlike many US allies.

Alternatively, Snowden could go through a lengthy extradition process, the outcome of which was not certain to please the Americans; and it could drag on for months or even years. Far better was to get rid of Snowden, and upset the Americans just once quickly; and cross our fingers that they will not retaliate, at least not too severely. But we do have Beijing as our backup, which surely gives us a diplomatic advantage.

As to the minor point about the Americans not filing an extradition document properly, well, we can all roll our eyes. Sure, C. Y. whatever you say. The fact is that many people in and outside of Hong Kong support, or are sympathetic to, Snowden. Other than the US government, few people or governments will question Hong Kong's move.

It's not clear whether Leung came up with his clever chess move by himself or whether he was advised and approved by political gurus from Beijing. Regardless, he has avoided a huge headache for Hong Kong while the central government can continue to milk this scandal for all it's worth.

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This article is now closed to comments

Dai Muff
No comment. No comment. No comment. No comment. No comment. No comment. No comment. No comment. No comment. Yeah. Brilliantly handled.
scmpbeijing1
Hong Kong still respects human rights? Tell that to all the dissidents who have been prevented from entering Hong Kong for no reason. Hong Kong does what Beijing tells it to do.
ianson
Leung's role was simply to do nothing, not exactly something to croon about. Rimsky Yuen did all the groundwork, making it easy for Leung who, evidently, did not receive any pressure from Beijing to act at all. Leung "won" by default.
the sun also rises
now H.K.government won't let Snowden to re-enter the territory so as to please the furious Uncle Sam who might take revenge on us by postponing the planned visa-free access to us.But it doesn't matter at all------just a trivial only.To those who have to go there for any reasons, they will still queue up outside the Consulate General at Garden Road,Central to apply for it patiently---not too troublesome indeed.And once you get the visa, you can keep it for 10 years.To those who never think of going there such as this Old Hong Kong,visa-free or not is nothing to me at all !
clc2
How easy it is to be fastidious about the building of data-bases & data-mining when there is no risk of a tactical nuclear device or chemical or biological device being detonated in Central, Admiralty or Wanchai.
As with any agglomeration of government power, the mountains of data now available to the NSA are subject to being misused in the absence of many-layered processes designed to prevent abuse.
Police in HK have the boots to knock down your door and haul you off to jail if they wish to, but they are restrained by lots of legal process from doing this in instances where it's difficult to justify. They also can't hold you for long without charging you with a crime.
This same rule of law does not apply across the Shenzhen River.
Mr. Obama has done better than his predecessor in fashioning layers of process around the NSA database, once he found that he had no choice but to keep maintaining it.
Alex Lo needn't fear being drawn into a data-mining search directed from the U.S., unless he communicates with terrorists. On the other hand, any of his messages over SKYpe stand a good chance of actually being read when he communicates with someone in, say, Beijing. He well knows this and is being typically disingenuous.
I don't envy anyone in C.Y.'s job, but Mr Lo might as well work in SH if the Chinese Governors of HK don't push more for HK values. They broke their extradition treaty for the callow Mr Snowdon, who broke U.S. rules by stealing data.
clk2828
"As to the minor point about the Americans not filing an extradition document properly, well, we can all roll our eyes."....... not wise to idolize the west. If they didn't put an effort to read and follow the request form instructions properly, it really shows how much respect they have for other's laws...who can they blame!!
 
 
 
 
 

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