News / Asia

Hong Kongers Rally in Support of Snowden

Supporters of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret information about U.S. surveillance programs, hold placards as they march to the Consulate General of the United States in Hong Kong, June 15, 2013.
Supporters of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret information about U.S. surveillance programs, hold placards as they march to the Consulate General of the United States in Hong Kong, June 15, 2013.
Ivan Broadhead
Hundreds of people rallied in Hong Kong Saturday in support of former U.S. government contractor Edward Snowden, who fled to the semi-autonomous Chinese city last month after confessing to leaking documents on two top secret U.S. surveillance programs.  To many, the case raises questions about Snowden’s choice of Hong Kong as a haven as he fights an expected legal battle against extradition, and the broader implications regarding the secrets he has revealed.

Amid monsoon rains in the city where Snowden remains in hiding, hundreds of Hong Kongers, expatriates and tourists marched on the U.S. Consulate.

Participants delivered a letter for Ambassador Stephen Young, condemning U.S. cyber monitoring activities exposed by the former security consultant who fled Hawaii May 20.

Teacher’s Union representative Tsui Hon-kwong compared Snowden’s case to that of Chinese dissident Shi Tao.

“In 2004, Shi Tao blew the whistle and told the world that the Chinese government had given secret instructions to all the press in China that nothing about June 4 commemoration [the 1989 crackdown in Beijing's Tiananmen Square] must be reported," said Tsui. "The Chinese government got his name from Yahoo.  Many Americans supported Shi Tao.  I suppose it  is our turn this time to support this American who is undergoing the same ordeal.”

Snowden recently told a Hong Kong newspaper that the United States has been hacking local and mainland targets since 2009.

Charles Mok is a legislator and information technology expert.  Snowden’s revelations, he said, risk allowing Beijing to legitimize its Great Firewall and other cyber-monitoring activities within and beyond China.

“I hope that in the end we are not going to see people justify totalitarian regimes snooping on their own people, just because even the Americans are doing it," he said.  "I do not deny that there is a certain need of security and monitoring that needs to go on, but where do we strike the balance and what is the right level of transparency?”

From the U.S. Consulate, protesters continued on to Hong Kong government headquarters to deliver another letter.  Organizer Tom Grundy appeared delighted by the turnout, which he estimated at 900, in contrast to a police figure of 300.

“I think Hong Kongers reactions are a mix of bewilderment and pride that Ed Snowden chose Hong Kong.  You can see we have hundreds of people here - 28 groups - which is unprecedented for Hong Kong,” he said. 

Last year though, more than 100,000 people gathered outside these same offices in protest against the imposition of Chinese patriotism classes in Hong Kong.  Just two weeks ago, another 60,000 gathered for the annual vigil in memory of the Chinese government's June 1989 crackdown on student protesters in Tiananmen Square.

Marchers blew whistles and chanted, "No Way NSA."  Some, though, voiced concern that organizers had missed the broader debate emanating from Snowden’s disclosure that U.S. Internet companies have been providing the National Security Agency, or NSA, information on foreigners suspected of terrorism.

Professor Francis Borchardt has lived in Hong Kong for two years.  The U.S. citizen stood in the rain listening to the speeches, his three-year-old daughter perched on his shoulders. 

“I’m a little bit disappointed with the way the organizers framed the whole issue," he said.  "The issue for me at least is much broader.  It's about the surveillance state and about keeping tabs on how that is progressing and how it is continually intruding on our lives. Just talking about this one NSA issue, just talking about Edward Snowdon, yeah, it's is important, but it's not the whole story.”

Snowden is reported to have fled to Hong Kong because of the city’s civil and political freedoms.  YK Law, director of Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, questioned that decision.

The former British colony has an extradition treaty with the U.S., he explained, and in 2004 forcibly deported a Libyan dissident, allegedly at the request of U.S. and U.K. authorities.

Law also warned that since the resumption of Chinese sovereignty in 1997, Beijing can legally intervene in Hong Kong matters related to national security and foreign affairs.

“So if the Chinese authorities intervene, then Hong Kong will have very little role to play [in Snowden's potential extradition].  I think China will probably see it as a good opportunity to embarrass the States, and they will be happy to see that dragging on,” said Law.

As the march concluded, Hong Kong’s Beijing-appointed leader, Leung Chun-ying, released a statement promising his government would handle Snowden’s case in accordance with local law. 

While the director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert Mueller, is vowing to take swift action against Snowden, by Saturday night, the U.S. had yet to initiate proceedings to extradite the 29-year-old confessed leaker.  This past week, Mueller told lawmakers that a criminal investigation has been opened into the leaks, which he said have dealt a blow to U.S. national security.

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rudy Haugeneder from: canada
June 18, 2013 2:09 AM
Snowden represents what is often sorely missing in the United States and in Western countries: People with the conviction and courage to fight government wrongdoing;
Snowden's actions may see the OWS movement revived: An Occupy Wall Street movement and a simultaneous Occupy White House front. Both must be rigorously overhauled and made directly responsible to all the public rather than a select few. Viva democracy.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
June 17, 2013 9:32 PM
These are my interests that if the US government would ask Hong Kong to deport Snowden and Hong Kong authrities would accept it. I think If Snowden violated some laws, he should be prosecuted no matter what he has done.


by: Richard from: Wisconsin
June 17, 2013 8:27 AM
There are many naive people in this world, I see. Yes, it is very wonderful to want to have a completely open and transparent government and I would wish that were even a possibility. However, the actual world we live in, and have lived in since the first World War, is one where governments keep secrets. From each other and, sometimes, from it's own citizens. I beg of you, how many countries on the face of the planet don't require that secrets be kept.

China? Great Britain? North Korea? France? And do we have citizens of our country , or visitors to our country who are wishing for the downfall of the USA? Recent history has shown us that it is true. And now, how do we deal with that? Hope it isn't our city or town that is being targeted by a group with a dirty bomb? The FIRST obligation of a government is to protect it's citizens. All of the rest is BS. Let's decide what it will take for our government to protect it's citizens. Without another 911. Snowden is a criminal. A very naive well meaning criminal, but a criminal non the less. He may be responsible for the next acts of terrorism.

In Response

by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
June 17, 2013 10:47 AM
I dont care about US or Snowdon, but US government is a liar and should shut up and stop bashing China, since US is the one doing exactly what it claims to hate, stealing!

In Response

by: Awareness from: china
June 17, 2013 9:43 AM
"JUDGE NOT, and neither condemn, for you know not why a thing occurs, nor to what end". "And remember you this: that which you condemn will condemn you, and that which you judge, YOU WILL ONE DAY BECOME". "Rather, seek to change those things-or support others who are changing those things-which no longer reflect your highest sense of Who you Are." "Yet, bless all-for all is the creation of God, through life living, and that is the highest creation". From "Conversations with God" By Neale Donald Walsch :) Love. Oneness, Laughter and The Light of God Almighty, ALL That IS, GREAT SPIRIT! GREAT SPIRIT! :)


by: E.J. Pearcy from: Northern California
June 17, 2013 4:58 AM
Indeed Edward Snowden is a hero not only to those of us American citizens who continue to respect the wisdom of our founding fathers who provided us with guidelines for the relationship between we citizens and our government; but also to all of humanity who long for the truth and understand that government is rightly of, by and for We the People of whatever sovereign nation we consider. Leave him alone except for a hero's acclaim and reward for excellent citizenship here and with the world at large!


by: Anonymous
June 16, 2013 11:57 PM
Snowden is just too simple to know how closely the tyrannies are watching on their own people.


by: Chandra Shekhar A K from: Chennai
June 16, 2013 11:34 PM

The Orwellian spectre of state surveillance of its own citizens in the name of public security haunts every citizen of every nation, both democratic and otherwise. Courage of individuals like Snowden and Osange need to be supported by all free-thinking people everywhere. India has hypocritcally protested against the leaked US surveillance of citizens of non-US countries, but is using all its strength as regulator of telecom, media, net, web and what not for making the very same public surveillance of its own citizens. It is only alert citizens of every country who should protest and protect their own rights and the safety of individuals like Snowden who fight for the same.


by: axe from: china
June 16, 2013 11:00 PM
interesting ! see how goveerment deal with this


by: salnaz from: ca
June 16, 2013 10:25 PM
Iran loves Eddie Snowden.


by: thomas from: New Mexico
June 16, 2013 11:32 AM
Snowden is the modern Paul Revere. If he is prosecuted by the US then Al Queda has won the war by turning us into fascists.


by: Anonymous
June 16, 2013 10:57 AM
I support Snowden,he is a good guy,who dare tell people the truth.The United States is a thief who call other people to catch the thief.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid