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 Leung said authorities also did not receive any documents showing that Snowden's U.S. passport had been revoked.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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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