BEIJING — Officially, the Chinese government has nothing at all to say about Edward Snowden.
But unofficially, it is only too happy to dump on the United States.
After days of silence, state media have let loose with a barrage of criticism concerning Snowden’s allegations of a massive electronic surveillance program by the United States. The English-language China Daily ran a large cartoon of a shadowed Statue of Liberty, holding a tape recorder and microphone instead of a tablet and torch.In an editorial dripping with indignation, the Communist Party-run Global Times demanded an explanation on behalf of the Chinese government.
“Before Snowden is silenced, Washington owes China an explanation of whether the U.S. as an Internet superpower abused its power over our vital interests,’’ Global Times opined.
In Hong Kong, the pro-Communist Party Takungpao newspaper added: “If the U.S. is the true defender of democracy, human rights and freedom like it always described itself … President Obama should sincerely apologize to the people from other countries whose privacy was violated.’’
Of course, the criticism is irresistible, the opportunity too rich to pass up. For months now, the U.S. government has demanded that the Chinese government rein an extensive military-sponsored hacking operation. During last weekend’s summit between Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, cybersecurity was the main item on the U.S. agenda.