• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 8:21pm
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 June, 2013, 12:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 June, 2013, 11:13pm

'Why Hong Kong?' Chinese wonder if Snowden is in wrong place


Amy Li began her journalism career as a crime news reporter in Queens, New York, in 2004. She joined Reuters in Beijing in 2008 as a multimedia editor. Amy taught journalism at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu before joining SCMP in Hong Kong in 2012. She is now an online news editor for SCMP.com. Amy can be reached at chunxiao.li@scmp.com, or follow her on Twitter @AmyLiSCMP

China’s net users, who have shown lukewarm interest in Edward Snowden’s fate as the saga of the ex-CIA-turned-whistleblower unfurls in Hong Kong, now wonder why he had fled to a Chinese city in the first place.

Comments came after Chinese media reports unanimously failed to offer an explanation for Snowden's decision to hide in Hong Kong. 

Snowden failed to become a trending topic on Weibo on Tuesday -- the blogosphere was abuzz with talks about Apple’s soon-to-launch iOS7 and an alien hoax in Shandong -- but his story was picked up by a few mainstream publications, among them China Daily, an English-language mouthpiece of the Communist Party, the influential Beijing News and state television CCTV.

But all of the reports, for unspecified reasons, left out the part in which Snowden explained to the British newspaper The Guardian why he had chosen to flee to Hong Kong: "Hong Kong has a reputation for freedom in spite of the People's Republic of China."

“Isn’t government monitoring a norm?” a Chinese microblogger commented on Weibo. “Doesn’t our government do that daily?”

Sina Weibo is among the most closely watched online platforms by the Chinese government. Censors scrutinise online activities of its 500 million registered users around the clock. 

Besides wondering why this is news at all, more bloggers seemed confused why Snowden, 29, had fled to China.

“Kid, we have a much more powerful surveillance system in China,” one wrote. “Coming here is suicide.”

"I strongly demand China grant him asylum," wrote another micoblogger who hailed Snowden as a hero. "It's time for our country to share the responsibilities of a super power."

Peng Zengjun, a journalism professor at Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota, in the US, said the Chinese media's lack of enthusiasm might be explained by their intention to protect themselves from censorship and future retaliation at a "sensitive time".

China's Communist Party leaders have issued a circular warning officials of "dangerous Western values", signaling a more conservative, authoritarian path in the first months of Xi Jinping's presidency.

"Nobody is absolutely sure where the country is headed," Peng said. "And it's safer to be conservative and stay away from such topics."


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Why the weather, of course. Sunny and dry, clean air. Never too hot.
Amy!!!! WAKE UP!!!!! Why China?!
in China, "dissidents" "human right activists" got 10-15 yrs in jail (sometime paroled out early to medical facility for "treatment".
in America. Snowden will either get death sentence or life term without the possibility of parole. so??? what say you?!
check Drudge Report. Check Michael Savage "Savage Nation" (WABC).
the correct question to ask is not why HK but rather why not HK ?
In regard to this surveillance program the public opinion is split once again between those who respect themselves and their freedom and those who instead live in fear, look for protection and welcome the leash of their master.
It is also about a certain culture that had been slave since
ancient Egypt.
He is not in the mainland, but Hong Kong SAR, with a different legal, culture and political system. He has no desire to head to the mainland or Beijing. To do so with or without a Visa, which he would need from the China govt, is simply ridiculous.
He seems to have a schoolboy image of Hong Kong and it is quite unrelated to the real Hong Kong. He doesn't know that we hate the 4 nerds who obstruct government under the pretext of serving the public and pursuing democracy; their main purpose is to get attention. He will also become an object of hate if he becomes a nuisance here.
He is suffering from a bad case of attention deficit syndrome and delusions of grandeur - like the cretins leading the Occupy Central mission and the kids who think they are making waves through Scholarism but are just seen and known to be stupid and being led by nasty agents provocateurs.
On second thoughts, Senden is right that Hong Kong is the right place for him - as he will be with the same kind. But I hope he doesn't become a dependent or asylum seeker as that is just being a blood sucker on top of all those names I have already assigned to him. With his basic level of education he was an easy pick for the security services who want single-tracked drones and not complicated academic types.
nobody is stupid...snowden must have something that may interest China...
1) he isn't highly educated, with his strongest value to Booz Allen his clearance, 2) he is not in the Mainland but is in Hong Kong SAR, with different values, culture and a different pollitical system. He obviously felt he could gain time while the incident dies down.


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