US whistleblower: Choice of Hong Kong due to "free speech tradition"
HONG KONG (AFP) - The US consulate and Hong Kong officials declined to comment on Monday on the case of Mr Edward Snowden, believed to be holed up in the city after leaking details of a secret US Internet surveillance programme.
Mr Snowden, whose exact location is unknown, revealed that he was in the southern Chinese city in an interview with the Guardian newspaper released on Sunday, noting his choice of Hong Kong was due to its "strong tradition of free speech".
The United States and Hong Kong signed an extradition treaty in 1996, a year before the city was handed over from British to Chinese control, under which both parties agreed to hand over fugitive offenders.
But any US attempt to repatriate Mr Snowden will be a complicated process, with Beijing able to veto extraditions implicating the "defence, foreign affairs or essential public interest or policy" of China.