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 Leung said authorities also did not receive any documents showing that Snowden's U.S. passport had been revoked.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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid