Why Hong Kong may have been a bad choice for Edward Snowden - Macleans.ca

Why Hong Kong may have been a bad choice for Edward Snowden


Edward Snowden, the man who was revealed to be the whistleblower behind a massive National Security Agency citizen monitoring campaign, has travelled from his home in Hawaii to Hong Kong, where he says he is seeking asylum.

“I think it is really tragic that an American has to move to a place that has a reputation for less freedom,” Snowden told The Guardian in a story published over the weekend. “Still, Hong Kong has a reputation for freedom in spite of the People’s Republic of China. It has a strong tradition of free speech.”

But Snowden’s decision to flee to Hong Kong has those familiar with the justice system and the culture in the city questioning the whistleblower’s decision.

At The Wall Street Journal, China correspondent Te-Ping Chen notes that Hong Kong has long-standing economic and legal ties with the U.S. There is also an extradition treaty between Hong Kong and the United States, though there is a veto clause in the treaty available to the Chinese government in Beijing.

Snowden’s choice was “really being based on unfortunate ignorance,” former Hong Kong security secretary Regina Ip tells The Wall Street Journal.

And another unnamed lawyer is even less diplomatic about it, telling The Washington Post: “Hong Kong is the worst place in the world for any person to avoid extradition, with the possible exception of the United Kingdom.”

However, a contradictory report from Global Post says that, in March, Hong Kong’s High Court released a decision that requires the government to find a new way to review asylum requests. “Until the government does this… asylum seekers are allowed to stay in Hong Kong indefinitely,” writes Benjamin Carlson at Global Post.

Even if the Hong Kong government does agree to deport Snowden, the U.S. government would have to wait for the new process to be put into place, a potentially lengthy government decision that could buy Snowden some time.

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Why Hong Kong may have been a bad choice for Edward Snowden

  1. A huge amount of publicity for Edward Snowden, but nobody seems too concerned that the guy is a bastion of truth and stood up for something he believed to be completely wrong. Is nobody worried that ‘the powers that be’ are monitoring every single detail of ones online life? As an IT person I am completely aware that anything posted online is NOT private, but to simply have an opinion about something should not put me at risk of, or fill me with fear of being labelled a ‘dissenter’ and being put on some stupid list by a government. It’s time the people took back their governments and started making them accountable. (That’ll definitely get me nailed for ‘counseling treason’)

    I see many people saying “Oh well if you’ve done nothing wrong then what’s the problem?”……….A government is made up of human beings, which history shows CANNOT be trusted with any form of absolute power. And we’re handing it to them.

    • The National Post did a fairly in depth report on the drug cartels.


      It would seem every major city in the US has local gangs to do their bidding. The federal government in the US is not making any dent in this to my knowledge. The Cartels put a Million Dollar bounty on Sheriff Joe in Arizona but no other politician that I am aware of.

      To me this says the Current US President is currying favour with and is supported by the cartels and the Inner City gangs.

      • Why not just say you’re rightwing and anti-black presidents and be done with it?

        • Read the drug cartel report and then comment; or did you reply in ignorance?

          None so blind as those who refuse to see.
          This applies to all left wing nut jobs.

          • Drug cartels have been around for eons….all through Bush’s time in office.

            Oh wait….he was white

            Racist much?

          • Some of us didn’t just hear about cartels…..or racism

            Wanna solve the whole thing? Legalize.

          • The real problem of course is corruption.
            Look at Quebec. WHITE CORRUPTION
            It is as corrupt in Quebec as it is in some areas of the US.
            Corruption doesn’t have a colour.

            Federal Canadian Politicians currying favour have ignored the corruption in Quebec.

            Federal American Politicians currying favor in the big US cities have ignored corruption there.

            If someone could prove to me that legalization of all drugs would cure the problem of corruption I would be in favour.

            I’m not sure where, why or how you calculate racism into all of this as it does not belong.

          • This is the same thing that happened in the US during Prohibition.

            Same thing that’s happened throughout history when something is forbidden……a black market springs up. Simple capitalism.

            Legalize, regulate and tax.

            Drug dealers and cartels disappear as there is no longer a profit.