Several hundred Hong Kongers held demonstrations during the weekend, demanding that Edward Snowden should not be extradited, and that the SAR government should protect him, Xinhua reports. (The South China Morning Post, SCMP, reported on Saturday that members of the League of Social Democrats marched from the HSBC headquarters to the U.S. consulate on Friday, and Xinhua’s report may refer to this demonstration.) According to opinion polls quoted by Xinhua (via SCMP), half of Hong Kongers opposed the idea of repatriating (遣返) Snowden, and only 17.6 percent supported the idea. A Ming Pao editorial of June 16 is quoted as calling on America to account to Hong Kong.
The Ming Pao article is behind a paywall, but the teaser refers to Snowden’s interview where he had said that the University of Hong Kong, officials, business people and even students had been targeted. Given that Hong Kong was not considered an enemy of the United States, and that it was no base area for sheltering terrorist elements, the SAR government had good reasons to lodge a protest with the American government and to make solemn representations. The American government must account to Hong Kong’s relevant parties, concerning the intrusions into Hong Kong computers.
Xinhua quotes the Voice of America (VoA) as saying that Snwoden had exploded a super-charged stink bomb (爆炸力超强的臭气弹), tainting Western companies, governments and officials with with a foul smell that would be hard to remove.
The main damage, the actual VoA online article (published on Friday) says, is political – so far, the NSA director, president Barack Obama, and congressional supporters of the existing laws and regulatons from both political parties hadn’t found a convincing response to the critics.
According to Xinhua, sympathy for Snowdon in the American media is declining rapidly – he was being criticized there for harming the national interest, and for having no professional integrity (批评其危害国家利益、没有职业道德的声音激增).
It’s a different story in Hong Kong, writes Xinhua, quoting “a page-spanning” SCMP headline on Sunday, saying that according to opinion polls, Hong Kongers don’t want to hand Snowden over to America (民调显示，香港人不愿把斯诺登交给美方). 49.9 percent of those polled opposed or strongly opposed the idea. The survey had also found that 33 percent of the polled found that Snowden was a hero. This seems to be an accurate rendition of the actual SCMP article.
Xinhua’s press review is much longer than these excerpts, but at least in its first paragraphs, there seems to be no twist in its account.
The English-language “Global Times”, owned by the China-Daily Group, writes that extraditing Snowden would be a face-losing outcome for both the Hong Kong SAR government and the Chinese Central government. It would also be a disappointment for expectations around the world. The image of Hong Kong would be forever tarnished.