Snowden said that people mistake his motives, that he choose China so he could hide underground and not be found. But he says that’s not it at all, that he’s there so he can reveal ‘criminality’, and hopes to stay in China as long as they will allow him.
He’s also reported to have said “I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American.”
Much more below:
SCMP – Edward Snowden says he wants to ask the people of Hong Kong to decide his fate after choosing the city because of his faith in its rule of law.
The 29-year-old former CIA employee behind what might be the biggest intelligence leak in US history revealed his identity to the world in Hong Kong on Sunday. His decision to use a city under Chinese sovereignty as his haven has been widely questioned – including by some rights activists in Hong Kong.
Snowden said last night that he had no doubts about his choice of Hong Kong.
“People who think I made a mistake in picking Hong Kong as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality,” Snowden said in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post.
“I have had many opportunities to flee HK, but I would rather stay and fight the United States government in the courts, because I have faith in Hong Kong’s rule of law,” he added.
Snowden says he has committed no crimes in Hong Kong and has “been given no reason to doubt [Hong Kong’s legal] system”.
“My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate,” he said.
The Hong Kong government has so far refused to comment on Snowden’s case. While many Hong Kong lawmakers, legal experts, activisits and members of the public have called on the city’s courts to protect Snowden’s rights, others such as Beijing loyalist lawmaker and former security chief Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said he should leave.
Snowden said yesterday that he felt safe in the city.
“As long as I am assured a free and fair trial, and asked to appear, that seems reasonable,” he said.
He says he plans to stay in Hong Kong until he is “asked to leave”.
The United States has not yet filed an application for extradition.