China: Snowden Case Like 'Shawshank Redemption'
China publicly congratulated "bright idealistic" NSA leaker Edward Snowden for exposing "the bleakest moment yet in the history of the Internet," and said in the Xinhua editorial that he's welcome in People's Republic.
China doesn't mention that it holds 69 bloggers behind bars, according to the latest Reporters Without Borders statistics.
"The case indicates that through outsourcing and contracting, Big Brother is breaching the fundamental rights of citizens by getting unfettered access to their most personal communications," says Xinhua.
"As the case unfolds, there are many things to worry about. How do we make sense of the fact that the market and the state colluded in the abuse of private information via what represents the backbone of many modern day infrastructures? How do we rationalize the character of Snowden and his fellow whistleblowers? How do we understand the one-sided cyber attack accusations the U.S. has poured upon China in the past few months? To what degree have foreign users of these Internet services fallen victim to this project?"
The official government mouthpiece called the case "a rare chance to reexamine the integrity of American politicians and the management of American-dominant Internet companies, and it appears that while many of these individuals verbally attack other nations and people in the name of freedom and democracy, they ignore America's worsening internal situation."
"We can see, therefore, that when American politicians and businessmen make accusatory remarks, their eyes are firmly fixed on foreign countries and they turn a blind eye to their own misdeeds. This clearly calls into question the integrity of these rich, powerful and influential figures and gives the definite impression that the U.S. bases its own legitimacy not on good domestic governance but on stigmatizing foreign practices."
Xinhua compared Snowden to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning -- adding these men "can be categorized as the 'bright feathers' of our time, to borrow some words from the popular American movie The Shawshank Redemption."
The editorial notably claims that Snowden, who checked out of his Hong Kong hotel a week ago, is still in Hong Kong.
"While human rights activists from developing countries (defined by Western apparatus for sure) are often blessed with a choice of hiding places, we are now seeing the dilemma of Western dissidents. For this reason China, despite the fact that it does not have a good reputation as far as Internet governance is concerned, should move boldly and grant Snowden asylum," the piece continues.
"To further understand the likes of Snowden, let us end with a narrative by the character Red from the Shawshank Redemption as he rationalizes the escape of his friend Andy: 'Some birds are not meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice.'"