China’s central government respects the Hong Kong Special Administrative Regional (HKSAR) government’s lawful handling of the case of former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Monday.
Hua made the comment in response to a reporter’s question on Snowden’s leaving from Hong Kong.
The HKSAR government has made a clear statement on Snowden’s leaving, Hua said.
Snowden, the former defense contractor who arrived in Hong Kong on May 20, left the region for Moscow on Sunday after the U.S. government asked for Hong Kong’s assistance in arresting him.
After leaking information on secret phone and Internet surveillance programs of the National Security Agency, the whistleblower went public in a video interview with the Guardian.
Hong Kong has signed an extradition treaty with the United States, but the government said it did not arrest Snowden due to insufficient information from Washington.
“Snowden has left Hong Kong through legal and normal means for a third country,” the HKSAR government said in a statement on Sunday.
“Hong Kong is a society with the rule of law,” said Hua, adding that according to the Basic Law of the HKSAR and the principle of “one country, two systems,” China’s central government always respects the HKSAR government’s handling of relevant issues in accordance with law.
Earlier media reports said that Snowden revealed before he left Hong Kong that Washington has hacked into the computer systems of major Chinese telecom operators and the prestigious Tsinghua University.
Hua expressed grave concern over those reports, noting that “it proves again that China is the victim of cyber attacks, and China has lodged representations to the U.S. side over the issue.”
China firmly opposes any form of cyber attack and is ready to cooperate with the international community to jointly safeguard the peace and security of cyberspace in the spirit of mutual respect, said the spokeswoman.
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