The United States wants Edward Snowden back, and if Hong Kong authorities don’t comply it’ll risk “complicating bilateral relations” between itself and the US.
According to a White House senior administration member:
“If Hong Kong doesn’t act soon, it will complicate our bilateral relations and raise questions about Hong Kong’s commitment to the rule of law.”
Snowden’s profile shot to the top when he came out and admitted that he was the culprit in exposing top secret NSA PRISM documents, which provided solid evidence that the US and its intelligence agencies were gathering people’s personal data through companies like Facebook, Apple, Google, and Microsoft.
It seems like Snowden’s extradition back to the US is inevitable, but what he does have on his side at the moment is huge following. A recent pardon petition for Snowden’s crimes to the White House has gone over 100,000 signatures. Furthermore, many people abroad have also expressed their sympathy and approval of Snowden’s actions against the US government.
Even Julian Assange, the famed WikiLeaks founder, has openly said that Snowden provided a “service to humanity” by leaking the PRISM documents. His message to the general public reads in part:
“The US government is spying on each and every one of us, but it is Edward Snowden who is charged with espionage for tipping us off. It is getting to the point where the mark of international distinction and service to humanity is no longer the Nobel Peace Prize, but an espionage indictment from the US Department of Justice…”
“The charging of Edward Snowden is intended to intimidate any country that might be considering standing up for his rights. That tactic must not be allowed to work. The effort to find asylum for Edward Snowden must be intensified. What brave country will stand up for him, and recognize his service to humanity? Tell your governments to step forward. Step forward and stand with Snowden.”
Authorities in the US have already charged Snowden with espionage, theft and conversion of government properties. Currently, Snowden is hiding away in a “safe place”, but the US has requested that the Hong Kong authorities detain him.