World News

Chinese Media Focus on Snowden Leaks, US Spy Programs

The front pages of Chinese state media were covered Thursday with the allegations of ex-CIA employee Edward Snowden, who says the U.S. government has been hacking computers in China for years.

Snowden is currently holed up in Hong Kong, where he fled after leaking top-secret documents that exposed surveillance programs carried out by the National Security Agency, where he had also worked as a contractor.

The 29-year-old on Wednesday told a newspaper in Hong Kong that he plans to stay in the former British colony and fight efforts to bring him back to the U.S. for criminal proceedings.

Speaking with the English-language South China Morning Post, Snowden said the NSA has been hacking computers in Hong Kong and mainland China since 2009. He said targets include public officials, businesses and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Those claims by Snowden were the top story on most of China's major news portals on Thursday, including on the front page of both the Chinese-language print version and and English-language online version of the Communist Party-controlled Global Times.



The official China Daily also prominently featured a piece quoting Chinese analysts who said Snowden's revelations are "certain to stain Washington's overseas image and test developing Sino-U.S. ties."

Until now, Chinese officials and newspapers on the mainland had stayed relatively quiet on the issue. But its increased prominence Thursday suggests Beijing is willing to use Snowden's revelations of the U.S. surveillance programs to defend its own massive cyber security operations.

The development could complicate Washington's efforts to hold China accountable for alleged widespread Chinese cyber espionage and theft against U.S. targets. It could also provide ammunition for Beijing to defend its own massive domestic surveillance efforts.

The U.S. spy programs have already been criticized by some privacy and civil rights advocates in China, including dissident artist Ai Weiwei. In a Tuesday opinion piece in The Guardian, Ai said the U.S. initiatives are "abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals' privacy."

Ai, who is one of the most well-known critics of China's extensive system of online censorship, said the U.S. should not take advantage of its technological power, saying it could encourage other nations to do the same.

The documents Snowden leaked provided information on how the NSA collects and monitors telephone records and and Internet content. Washington officials, who have confirmed the programs, have said they are not being misused and are necessary to stop terrorist attacks.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs