On the streets and in the media, Hong Kong residents have rallied behind Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor accused of leaking documents about American surveillance programs, and have taken aim at President Obama for snooping on U.S. citizens.
Many Hong Kong residents say they oppose extradition for Snowden, according to a poll by the Chinese University in Hong Kong conducted last week. Half of those polled said Snowden should not be extradited; more than one-third of those polled called him a hero. The editors of the HuanQiu Times also came down in support of Snowden, writing that Hong Kong only stands to lose moral credibility if it extradites a conscientious dissenter who has “neither committed murder, nor embezzled or smuggled.”
When the United Kingdom returned Hong Kong to Chinese control in 1997, the city was granted a degree of autonomy that allows it to continue some of the democratic traditions established under British rule while joining with the Communist party-controlled Chinese mainland. But Hong Kong has cooperated with American authorities in some high-profile recent cases.
In conversations on Weibo, the China’s most popular social network, netizens seemed to be enjoying the role reversal of the U.S. and China.
Many netizens mocked Google’s “don’t be evil” company motto.
Founding president of Google China Kai-Fu Lee, who has 25 million followers on Weibo and is considered one of the most influential Chinese public figures, wrote a widely shared essay lambasting the U.S. for squandering its credibility among free speech activists in China, many of whom have long looked toward the States as a model of democracy.
Many on Chinese social media have been sharing and captioning a clip from The Simpsons Movie, which they say predicted PRISM:
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