A while has passed after Edward Snowden went public with his defection from USG’s espionage apparatus. I was quite harsh with him at first, but now I am more inclined to cut him some slack.
First he was so kind to give a new online interview through the Guardian again. I must admit he doesn’t sound as smug and stupid as I had thought, and he’s handling his PR quite alright. I also happened to see Kim Dotcom in Twitter hinting that it was him who told Snowden to seek refugee in Hong Kong. Kim used to have Megaupload’s servers in HK so he must know something about it.
Then Snowden goes on and leaks that the little bro of USG, i.e. UKG was spying on everyone during the G20 meetings. So here I was thinking, hey maybe this Snowden guy knows what he’s doing. His revelations have also fomented a lot of interest in encryption software to bypass USG’s spies, and things like Cryptocat or GPGtools are seeing increased interest.
Then I see a profile of him in the Japan Times, writing about his teenage years as an Otaku tribesmen obsessed with Japanese cartoons. Nothing wrong with that per se, although I am perennially annoyed by how young teenage males disguise getting hooked with teen angst porn (people in Japan call it the “middle school sophomore disease“) and yellow fever with a fascination for Japanese culture. But I don’t blame the guy, you can’t just go on telling your friends that you like Dragon Ball, videogames and asian pussy. Yet for all his online Otaku life he didn’t have what it takes:
• Right, anyway, it is pretty far-fetched, but I’ve always dreamed of being able to “make it” in Japan. I’ve taken Japanese for a year and a half (they only offered 3 semester-levels) so I can understand a little, but I’m not even close to thinking about dreaming about wishing I were fluent. Damn those Kanji!
Well he now has plenty of time to learn Kanji in their original form. It seems he’ll stay a while in Hong Kong. While I rushedly called him stupid for putting himself in the hands of the Chinese Leviathan, it is increasingly looking like he made the right call. See the Global Times, the official spokesman of the fascist wing of the CCP.
June 17 op-ed:
Extraditing Snowden an unwise decision
Washington must be grinding its teeth because Snowden’s revelations have almost overturned the image of the US as the defender of a free Internet. After losing this image, which has been abused by the US government to boss others around, there is no way it won’t want Snowden to be extradited.
However, it would be a face-losing outcome for both the Hong Kong SAR government and the Chinese Central government if Snowden is extradited back to the US. Unlike a common criminal, Snowden did not hurt anybody. His “crime” is that he blew the whistle on the US government’s violation of civil rights. His action supported “human rights” as defined in the UN Charter, and has been applauded worldwide.
Snowden believes in the democracy and freedom of Hong Kong. His whistle-blowing is in the global public interest. Therefore, extraditing Snowden back to the US would not only be a betrayal of Snowden’s trust, but a disappointment for expectations around the world. The image of Hong Kong would be forever tarnished.
Diplomatically, Snowden has cast a shadow over the new Sino-US relationship right after the Xi-Obama meeting. The sooner the incident is wrapped up, the better the ties between the two countries will be.
Cyber attacks, a weapon frequently used by the US government, have turned out to be its own Achilles’ heel. China is generous enough not to hype this incident in consideration of the Sino-US relationship.
The Chinese government has no responsibility to help the US quench the fire.
China’s growing power is attracting people to seek asylum in China. This is unavoidable and should be used to accumulate moral standing.
I’ve written before about the Global Times. These guys are hardcore. They know what they want, they say it clearly, and they mean what they say. It’s not too much to say that they speak for half the party. And these guys just said that Snowden will not be extradited.
And if any doubts remained, they doubled down today:
June 18 op-ed:
Framing China would only hurt US more
(…) global public opinion already says the US is in the wrong. Any attempt to frame China would be an overestimation of US ability to control public opinion.
Both the Hong Kong SAR government and the Chinese Central government need to fully consider China’s interests while addressing this issue. The hurly-burly of American politicians should be ignored. Their voices have little impact on the Sino-US relationship.
Aside from the pressure Washington is imposing on the Hong Kong SAR government based on their extradition treaty, other aggressive voices have little impact. On the one hand, the US does not have evidence to launch new claims of a “China conspiracy.” On the other hand, Snowden has drawn worldwide sympathy. Hong Kong will not lose the high moral ground if it does not extradite Snowden back to the US.
Chinese media should have more contact with Snowden, spreading more valuable information to the world. By doing so, Snowden will continue to be the centerpiece of public opinion, and denunciations by American politicians will be overlooked. The US will flinch at the sight of pro-Snowden public opinion.
This incident should make China more aware of the importance of defending itself from the pressures of the US online. Snowden blew the whistle on shady moves by the US in the cyberspace. Having this matter unfold without interference meets the expectations of world public opinion.
Oh my. Unless USG has something very tasty to give to China, it seems to me that Snowden is going to have a good time in Hong Kong. Hong Kong and Shenzhen have a thriving IT industry, much better than Japan’s, and plenty of yellow pussy for him to savor. Good for him I say. If I see him in Lan Kwai Fong I’ll buy him a beer.
By the way I’m running a @neoreaction chatroom in Cryptocat, please feel free to come in and chat freely without fear of Cathedral snooping.