News / Asia

    Hong Kong Leader Defends Role in Letting NSA Leaker Flee

    Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying speaks during a news conference following his maiden policy address in Hong Kong, January 16, 2013 file photo.
    Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying speaks during a news conference following his maiden policy address in Hong Kong, January 16, 2013 file photo.
    VOA News
    Hong Kong's leader has defended his role in allowing a fugitive former U.S. intelligence contractor to leave the territory on Sunday despite demands by Washington for the American's extradition.

    Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said Monday there was "no legal basis" to stop Edward Snowden from leaving the city while authorities were processing the U.S. extradition request and "asking (Washington) for further important information" on the case.

    The former U.S. National Security Agency contractor faces U.S. charges of espionage for disclosing clandestine American surveillance programs.

    U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said Sunday Washington is "disappointed" by the decision to permit Snowden to flee Hong Kong.  She said the United States had submitted a "legally valid" request to Hong Kong to arrest him for purposes of extradition under a bilateral agreement.

    Hayden also said Washington registered "strong objections" to Hong Kong authorities and the Chinese government and noted that such behavior is "detrimental" to U.S.-Hong Kong and U.S.-China relations.

    Leung acknowledged what he called "expressions of displeasure" from some authorities in the United States.

    But, he insisted Snowden's departure from Hong Kong as a "normal passenger" on a Russian flight to Moscow was lawful.

    "This is a good example to illustrate 'one country, two systems', Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong, and the high degree of autonomy that we have," said Leung. "It is also a good example to illustrate the rule of law that we uphold and the procedural fairness and justice that we uphold."

    Under the one country-two systems concept, Hong Kong has autonomy on social and economic affairs but Beijing exercises authority over matters of foreign policy and defense.

    A U.S. official told Western news agencies on Sunday that Washington revoked Snowden's passport the day before to try to prevent him from traveling beyond Hong Kong, where he had been in hiding for a month since fleeing his home in Hawaii.  Leung said Hong Kong authorities had not received any U.S. documents showing that Snowden's passport was invalid.

    Hong Kong anti-establishment lawmaker Albert Ho disputed Leung's suggestion that the government handled the Snowden case independently.

    Ho said he met with Snowden to offer legal advice and learned that a "middleman" had urged the American to depart the city, promising safe passage to a third country.  The lawmaker said Hong Kong officials declined to tell him anything about the safe passage offer, leading him to suspect the middleman acted on the orders of Beijing, leaving the city's government with little say in the matter.

    Ho is a longtime critic of perceived Chinese government interference in Hong Kong affairs.

    Some analysts said it appears that China orchestrated Snowden's exit to avoid a potentially lengthy legal battle in Hong Kong over the U.S. extradition request. They said Beijing wants to prevent the case from becoming an additional irritant in its already testy relationship with Washington.

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Monday that Beijing "respects" the Hong Kong government's handling of Snowden. She gave no details about any role the Chinese government might have played in the case.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora