News / USA

US Accuses China of Letting Snowden Flee

White House spokesman Jay Carney during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, June 24, 2013.
White House spokesman Jay Carney during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, June 24, 2013.
VOA News
The White House has accused the Chinese government of deliberately allowing a fugitive former U.S. intelligence contractor to flee Hong Kong, despite U.S. demands for the American's extradition.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Edward Snowden's Sunday journey from Hong Kong to Moscow on a Russian passenger plane "unquestionably" has a "negative impact" on U.S.-China relations.

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

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Carney said Washington believes Beijing made a "deliberate choice" to let Snowden leave Hong Kong in spite of what the spokesman called a "valid" U.S. arrest warrant.

Earlier in the day, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said there was "no legal basis" for local authorities to stop Snowden from departing while they were processing the U.S. extradition request and "asking [Washington] for further important information" on the case. Leung said authorities also did not receive any documents showing that Snowden's U.S. passport had been revoked.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said 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.

Carney rejected the notion that Snowden's departure was merely a "technical decision" by a Hong Kong immigration official.

"I can say that the Hong Kong authorities were advised of the status of Mr. Snowden's travel documents in plenty of time to have prohibited his travel as appropriate. I think I did reflect our concern and disappointment in the failure to act by Hong Kong authorities, as well as the fact that we do not buy the suggestion that China could not have taken action," said Carney.

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 acknowledged what he called "expressions of displeasure" from some authorities in the United States. He insisted, however, 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. It is also a good example to illustrate the rule of law that we uphold and the procedural fairness and justice that we uphold," he said.

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.

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.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs