Long strained by the constant US allegations of Chinese hacking, the relationship between the two nations is set to take additional blows now in the face of the NSA PRISM leak, both from the leaker’s presence in Hong Kong, and because he revealed US surveillance operations against the partially autonomous city.
From the US side, the strain is in Edward Snowden’s presence in Hong Kong, and the looming extradition battle as officials hope to get him shipped to the US for punishment, and he hopes for asylum elsewhere.
Yet even as US officials past and present put this forward as China’s fault, pressure is growing over Snowden’s leaks, particularly the revelations of mass surveillance of Hong Kong itself. Democratic Party Chairwoman Emily Lau, one of Hong Kong’s most influential politicians, is calling on China to ask the US “what the hell they’re up to.”
That Snowden uncovered surveillance on such an enormous scale, not just against American citizens but against Chinese as well, is certain to play a major role in any extradition battles in Hong Kong, and will color Sino-American relations for years to come.