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  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 6:17pm
Edward Snowden
NewsChina

Beijing made decision on Edward Snowden leaving Hong Kong, say analysts

Sino-US experts say Hong Kong did not have the power to determine if Edward Snowden could fly out, as it involved national security

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 June, 2013, 3:54pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 June, 2013, 7:26am

Beijing interceded to allow whistle-blower Edward Snowden's dramatic flight from Hong Kong, calculating that infuriating the United States for now was necessary to prevent deeper corrosion in their relationship, analysts and media said yesterday.

And Beijing exploited the cyberspying revelations to put the US on the back foot. State media called Washington a villain for its alleged hacking of Chinese targets, when the United States has long portrayed itself as a victim of Chinese cybersnooping.

The Hong Kong government insisted that its decision to let the 30-year-old Snowden fly out on Sunday was governed strictly by the law, after a provisional US arrest warrant purportedly failed to meet its judicial requirements.

But for many observers, such a high-profile case - carrying the potential to destabilise Sino-US ties for years if Snowden had fought a lengthy legal battle in Hong Kong - must have provoked intense interest among the city's overseers.

Professor Shen Dingli, director of American studies at Shanghai-based Fudan University, said he believed the decision leading to Snowden's departure was definitely made by the central government in Beijing.

"For such a vital national security interest, how can Hong Kong decide by itself? If we want to have good US-China relations, it benefits China to have let Snowden leave", he said.

"Hong Kong does not have the power to decide upon a significant matter like this. The announcement made by the Foreign Ministry on Monday was just rhetoric, as Beijing wouldn't want to claim the responsibility for making the final decision to let Snowden go."

China's Foreign Ministry on Monday sidestepped allegations that it orchestrated Snowden's departure, which infuriated Washington after it had requested his arrest and extradition.

Spokeswoman Hua Chunying refused to directly comment on the affair at a regular press briefing in Beijing, or provide details on any role Beijing played in Snowden's flight to Moscow on Sunday.

"The central government of China always respects the Hong Kong SAR government's handling of the relevant case," she said, referring reporters to Hong Kong's statement on Sunday which said he departed through "legal and normal means".

Niu Jun , a professor of international relations at Peking University, agreed that Beijing must have been involved in Snowden's departure "to a certain degree", because Hong Kong wouldn't deal with a diplomatic case like this "without the instructions of Beijing".

"However, the Snowden case won't affect the Sino-US relationship in the long run, as long as Beijing doesn't get involved too deeply in it," Niu said. "Now that Beijing has already let Snowden go, it won't be a problem."

Zha Daojiong, an international relations professor at Peking University, said: "His departure removes a potential long-term problem in the wider relationship, whatever short-term anger is expressed from the US."

Reuters quoted a source in Beijing, who has ties to the leadership, as saying China was repaying a debt by avoiding an extradition stand-off. The US refused asylum for Wang Lijun , disgraced vice-mayor and police chief of Chongqing who sought refuge in a US consulate last year in a scandal that later brought down his boss Bo Xilai .

"This is China returning the [US] favour," the source said.

Agence France-Presse, Reuters

 

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hard times !
As Professor Shen Dingli said,China also lost face in the outcome of the Snowden case by letting/asking him to leave Hong Kong.As this guy tells China and Hong Kong how the US has threatened them.China should care for him, to host him (in Hong Kong where he should be well-protected).But instead,to not letting the Sino-American relationship to worsen,Hong Kong,the host has to ask (with instructions from Beijing) this nice guest (with huge contributions to our national interest and the security of Hong Kong as well------the cybersecurity of our computer systems at Chinese Univ.and elsewhere) to leave the territory as soon as possible instead of letting him stay here and fight against the extradition request that is to come---------since Snowden said he had placed his trust on Hong Kong people and our 'rule of law' and freedom of speech.But now he is far from us and is still running for his life safety ! We should be ashamed for our act maybe !
johnwe
Serve the US right for their two-faced realpolitiks. I couldn't care two hoots what Feinstein or Schumer thinks or is convinced about. They are from different parties but of the same ilk i.e. ultra-conservative.
I also don't think China lost face - only faux democrats who invent imaginary 'reasons' or do violence in writing or on the streets for their living, will draw that conclusion.
Why should Hong Kong or China host and protect another potential trouble-maker like the blind Chen did with NYU? These types are trouble whichever side you are on; all they care about is the headlines and they hope, a sinecure for life.
No hope here - perhaps he could work at a MacDonalds on minimum wages or in a Wanchai ro Shamshuipo IT outlet. Look at what happened to those high-profile 1989 U students who fled to the US.
DREGstudios
Snowden is a hero and a patriot in my book. We live in an age where the civil liberties our forefathers fought so hard for are being eroded by the day. Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly are mere ghostly images of their original intent. We’ve woken up to an Orwellian Society of Fear where anyone is at the mercy of being labeled a terrorist for standing up for rights we took for granted just over a decade ago. Read about how we’re waging war against ourselves at ****dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/09/living-in-society-of-fear-ten-years.html
hard times !
From what you said,you are not smarter than the Obama administration which has been described in this Comment column by his fellow Americans as a buffoon (clown) administration whose intelligence and efficiency in exerting a policy/task is poor enough-----charged Snowden with espionage crime but never informed our Immigration Dept.about the invalidity of his American passport that Mr.Snowden could use it to leave Hong Kong for Moscow ! What a farce ! This Obama administration appears no better than his predecessor--the Bush administration which started two wars at the same time in the Middle East which cost the Americans at home much, not to say the loss of lives and international image ! Now this Snowden further disclosed the dark sides of this No.1 power---hypocrisy and double standard in its safeguard of human rights and liberty plus cyber-security.!
blue
Ultimately it was up to Snowden. He was given the "nudge" to leave by being tipped off about the fact that he'll be safe if he leaves. Snowden could have stayed and fought the extradition, but that was more risky. Leaving HK was a pragmatic decision. HK came off looking pretty good to be honest.
chanyellowgreen
We should not blame Hong Kong government. We are just a small city, and too weak in every aspect to go against the Big Brother.
China could help, and in fact i think they did. But they can only do it from behind, not openly. Otherwise some other people or countries will accuse China to interfere Hong Kong's affairs.
It is very clear that Big Brother thinks they are ruling the whole world.
jenniepc
Again, China does need or train people or media how to fight back unfounded accusations. If I have not fought back, posted in US major media including SCMP and NYT to ask US providing the evidences for his accusations of China cyber-attacks, then the false accusations would have become true if the United States has repeatedly accused China of cyber attacks. Again, I am not taking sides and my comments are always based on the facts. it is not the world best interest if there is a conflict between US and China.
It don’t matter who, Hong Kung or Central government, handles Mr. Edward Snowden incidents. I think that the Snowden’s incidents handle very well. Again, the prosecution of Mr. Edward Snowden with violating espionage laws under the Espionage Act is very questionable. Mr. Snowden is more whistle-blower than espionage as US has claimed. US First Amendment, one which is broad, progressive and encompasses almost any manner of expression. However, it seems to me if speech runs counter to the needs and actions of a government, said speech is deemed non-protected and in violation of Espionage Act.
America has had a long history of providing asylums to all sorts of corrupt officials. I should remind our government that we have provided a safe heaven for those most Asian or African corruptive officials. Any forms of corruptions are no different from normal criminals, it does not matter if it is bribery, extortion or drug traf****.
Jennie PC Chiang/江佩珍 04/28/13 美國
hard times !
According to the editorial of today's local Chinese language newspaper,Ming Pao Daily(a paper read by local intellectuals and those overseas Chinese),we Hongkongers who are the victims of the cybersurveillance acts committed by the National Security Agency of America led by Obama and his National Intelligence Committee are now being threatened that we 'will be taught a lesson' for so-called,'releasing' the fugitive whistle-blower,Mr. Edward Snowden (our benefactor actually).We are awaiting the' punishment' but will never give in ! As all know, American companies used to earn lots of money from Hong Kong------- the numerous McDonald's outlets (the most money-earning ones in the world),KFCs,Pizza Huts,fruits from Califonia and Washington state; Cokes and our visitors to America plus America's banks:Citibank and its credit cards and her insurance companies ,investment banks and ....Once we are punished economically by sanction or other measures,we Hongkongers might probably boycott US goods and services, it is for sure !
musca999
It is a big chess game isn't it? My questions are:
1) Why Hong Kong (18hr flight)? Why not any other nearby sympathetic country?
2) Why aren't we hearing more of his so-called "intelligence"?
hard times !
China played a low-key at the beginning and during the saga of Mr.Snowden but behind the scene, she might have instructions to our SAR administration which was worried about this hot potato--the fugitive of the US which top secrets were revealed by him while staying here as an ordinary tourist holding a US passport but hasn't broken our law.He was wanted by the US but the formal request of him to be extradited did not come until days after his first revelations ! How idiotic this Obama administration looks in the eyes of the public (especailly the netizens) of the world ! Then Snowden left in a hurry and normally to Russia---a country not so friendly with America without being known by the agents sent here from the US.He was not stopped from leaving here since his arrest warrant documents had to be studied before our cops could arrest him ! How inefficient the Obama administration was---------making Snowden's passport invalid but not informing our Immigration Dept.which had no record of his not allowing to depart for not owning a valid passport. Was it absurd ?

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