• Sun
  • Jul 13, 2014
  • Updated: 7:28pm
Edward Snowden
CommentInsight & Opinion
LEADER

The US is the one with some explaining to do

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 June, 2013, 3:44am

Criticism and veiled threats are not what we expect of a partner. Yet that is what the US has levelled at Hong Kong in the wake of Edward Snowden's departure. The American former intelligence operative left lawfully on Sunday while clarification was being sought by the government to a request from Washington under a treaty for his return to face espionage and theft charges. We broke no laws or rules; to suggest otherwise is to lack faith in a long-standing relationship.

The criticism is unreasonable. White House spokesman Jay Carney claimed letting Snowden go to Moscow "was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive"; he said the decision "unquestionably has a negative impact on the US-China relationship". Secretary of State John Kerry was similarly undiplomatic, inferring the move had been "wilful".

US ties with Hong Kong run deep and there are any number of ways the US can show displeasure. It could impose sanctions on imports, delay investment deals, stall the handing over of wanted criminals or scupper visa-free travel to the US for residents, an immigration arrangement being considered by the senate this week. But to even suggest such actions is to ignore Hong Kong's rule of law and its record for fairness and justice. As Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Monday, without a legal basis to detain Snowden, he was free to leave.

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung made that plain yesterday. The US request had lacked crucial details - Snowden's correct name and passport number among them. Nor was the Immigration Department aware that the travel document had been revoked. But as frustrated as the US may be, it, not Hong Kong, should be doing the explaining. As Snowden revealed during his brief stay, American intelligence agencies had for the past six years been spying on us, hacking without invitation or our knowledge our digital communications.

Snowden's departure was in the interests of Hong Kong and China. Under the "one country, two systems" principle, Beijing is responsible for our foreign policy. Unilaterally punishing Hong Kong for faithfully abiding by its laws, rules and standards would have consequences. Beijing would be certain to step in.

To suggest that a legally binding agreement with Washington was violated is to ignore a relationship based on decades of co-operation, partnership and trust. Given our past record, it is not unreasonable to expect better of the US.

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This article is now closed to comments

shooter556@hotmail.com
Don't tell me "you're either for us or against us"; right, Mr. Carney? Could somebody explain to Mr. Carney what "rule of law" means?
the sun also rises
definitely, Uncle Sam is the one,the only one with some explanations to do---to offer the public of the world his cybersurviellance of his countrymen and all other netizens around the world which number is close to 2 billions !
martinturner
might is right but infer isn't.
the sun also rises
it is learnt that the largest hacker in the world (instead of apologizing to all nations in the world and her fellow countrymen for intrusions into their computers randomly and without consent ) , it has started to assume that the data/files smuggled out by Mr.Snowden have been got by both the Chinese intelligence agency:the Chinese National Security Bureau and Russian's intelligence agency as well.Now it is evaluating the loss of the leaked info.(which might take months as their efficiency is so low though owns a huge manpower ) and sighs over the change of communication styles of the so-called terrorist organisations---acutally the largest one is the state-terrorist---Uncle Sam himself.China can hardly compare with her in this respect.
hilaryj
One would expect the Americans to park the belligerence and be more polite.
To quote Max Keiser:
"Well China has got a fantastic card to play, one trillion US dollars that they can dump on the market anytime and jack interest rates up five or six points, which would throw the real estate market back into collapse. China is pulling the strings here and China has all the cards to play."
joep02
Well said! I am an American and I am disgusted with the behavior of the USGOVT! The NSA represents all that is wrong with the State and we demand better of our democratic leaders! America needs a political revolution to restore rule-of-law and restore our civil liberties!
sungsdc
Reminded me the 1999 movie "enemy of the state" by Will Smith and Gene Hackmann. Shame on NSA and who knows any others involved. Hats off to Ed Snowden & HKSAR government! We're not 51st state of US. We've rule of law and we've abide to it!
the sun also rises
Has she explained to the world about her cybersurveillance acts against all netizens in the world ?Not yet and probably won't be forever until she downgrades to a second-class nation and bullied by other rising powers then she might be forced to regret her wrongdoings during her prime era !
chanyellowgreen
She will never explain. Why will she? She will only ask other countries to explain. She is the only superpower. Her words are final.
chanaa
exactly. still waiting an explanation from the most hypocritical nation

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