Mr Snowden, Hong Kong is not for you

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post interviewed surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden on 12 June and has this to report:

“People who think I made a mistake in picking HK as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality.”

“He vowed to fight any extradition attempt by the US government, saying: “My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate. I have been given no reason to doubt your system.’’

As a Hong Konger, I have deep concern as to why Mr Snowden has chosen Hong Kong as his hiding place. I am concerned because Hong Kong is no longer a liberal place as he imagines. He may not know that Hong Kong people cannot decide their own fate under One Country Two Systems, and if so, how can they decide his fate. People here, for instance, cannot elect their Chief Executive and cannot decide who and how many from mainland China are allowed to settle in Hong Kong. They are helpless seeing Hong Kong being turned into just a city in Mainland China toeing the line of Central Government. They cannot decide their fate.

Earlier Mr Snowden said he chose Hong Kong because of its “commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent”. Sadly, as many people here would agree, Hong Kong’s commitment to free speech is dwindling and self censorship is gradually becoming a norm in the media. The boss of a magazine that is critical of Hong Kong and China politics was attacked on the street on 3 June by two masked men. And even our Chief Executive himself was silencing free speech. How much free speech does this city still have?

My Snowden has my respect for his heroic act. I hope he has untold plan about hiding in Hong Kong for the moment. As Wikileaks founder Julian Assange suggests, go to South America – they are pushing for democracy. Please, do not choose Hong Kong. It is not the place for you, Mr Snowden.

One Reply to “Mr Snowden, Hong Kong is not for you”

  1. Dear Anna — I enjoy reading your blog, so please take this as I intend it: You do realize that your blog itself is an example of free speech, yes? You have made your opinions public, and you do so safe in the knowledge that you will not be persecuted for them.

    Yes, Hong Kong has had some freedom of speech issues of late, but they are not as bad as some make out. Reporters without Borders still lists HK in the top third of all countries surveyed for press freedom, while mainland China is in the bottom 4%.

    Things could be a whole lot worse. It pays to watch out to make sure they don’t, but it also pays to bide one’s time and not cry wolf.

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