Chinese hail Edward Snowden as a hero

Helen Gao writes: After initially muted responses to the NSA spying controversy, the Chinese media and public are beginning to take stronger stances as it has emerged that Edward Snowden is taking refuge in Hong Kong, where he divulged classified data about US government-sponsored hacking activities directed toward China.

Editorials published by state newspapers argue, in a concerted voice, that the US owes China “an explanation of Prism” given its earlier high-profile accusation of Chinese government’s hacking of US companies. “We can see … that when American politicians and businessmen make accusatory remarks, their eyes are firmly fixed on foreign countries and they turn a blind eye to their own misdeeds,” read an editorial in People’s Daily, the Communist party mouthpiece. “The information Snowden has revealed concerns China, and we need to understand our situation well,” another editorial on Global Times, a popular nationalistic tabloid, maintained. “We have the right to ask the US government to issue explanations on, for example, whether Prism is being applied to the US’s business negotiation with the Chinese government and corporations.”

While the state media seizes the case as evidence of US double standards in its dealing with the world, it is also careful to steer the story away from aspects that may evoke domestic associations deemed too sensitive by the Chinese government. Snowden’s choice of Hong Kong as his temporary haven, for example, was only glossed over, perhaps because it brings too quickly to mind the two epic US consulate runs committed last year, by the Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun, and of human rights advocate Cheng Guangcheng, both of which put the Chinese government in an embarrassing light domestically and internationally. It would also serve as yet another reminder to the mainland Chinese of the greater social freedom and judicial independence in Hong Kong, a depressing contrast to what they have at home. [Continue reading…]

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