On Saturday, June 15th a few hundred political activists marched through the streets of Hong Kong in support of Edward Snowden, and in protest to the recently revealed PRISM program made public by Snowden.
Snowden supposedly revealed just how invasive the federal government program was and how it purportedly scours the Internet for any and all communication data. These accusations by Snowden have caused a rippling effect around the globe in support of his bravery, and every day more people are beginning to demand that the U.S. end what they consider an overly invasive form or surveillance and demand that Snowden remain free from prosecution.
The protesters in Hong Kong gathered outside the U.S. consulate office with some holding signs calling Snowden a hero and some signs denouncing Obama and praising Snowden for his actions. Other had wording demanding the U.S. to end its spying programs aimed at China in general.
The fact that a protest has grown over Snowden’s actions in Hong Kong is testimony to the mega-city’s more liberal laws allowing public opinion. Contrary to mainland China, Hong Kong has always enjoyed more freedoms in regards to free speech, and the Internet is not censored as it is in mainland China. This is in fact one reason why Snowden claims he revealed himself from Hong Kong, since he knew he would have more freedom to be open and possibly be offered asylum by the local government.
One of Hong Kong’s largest pro-Chinese government parties (the DAB) have also become very vocal over the recent news on PRISM and have even demanded the U.S. apologize for their spying program aimed at China.
Starry Lee, who serves as the DAB’s vice-chairwoman, said that the U.S. has lied about their current espionage activities, called it blatantly illegal, and said the local government should help Snowden. “I think the Hong Kong government should protect him.” Lee said.
Soon after Snowden revealed himself as the leak to the Guardian and Washington Post, he checked out of the Hong Kong hotel he was staying in and now his exact whereabouts are publicly unknown. Snowden says he is intending on staying in Hong Kong for as long as he can and will fight any extradition demands from the U.S.
Chinese officials have avoided any kind of comment on the case against Snowden. Nevertheless, the Obama Administration and China’s newly elected leader recently concluded a meeting in California where the two vowed to create better ties and help with securing the Internet. Whether this new relationship with China will have an effect on this recent incident remains to be seen, however, Snowden has made claims that the U.S. has been spying on China. Snowden also says the U.S. has even targeted non-government places like the Chinese University in Hong Kong and gone through emails of elected Chinese public officials.