Saturday, 20 July 2013

Lawmakers vote to condemn US spying in Hong Kong

Security secretary ‘very disappointed’ there has been no solid explanation of the hacking saga

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Guanyu 道 said...

Lawmakers vote to condemn US spying in Hong Kong

Security secretary ‘very disappointed’ there has been no solid explanation of the hacking saga

Jeffie Lam
19 July 2013

The legislature has unanimously passed a motion expressing strong dissatisfaction with the US government’s hacking of Hong Kong computer systems.

The Leung Chun-ying administration also said it was “very disappointed” that Washington had yet to give a solid explanation.

Hong Kong sent an official letter to the United States on June 21, demanding an account of the whole hacking drama. To date, they had not heard from Washington, Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said yesterday.

“We are very disappointed,” Lai said during the motion debate. “We hope the US can give Hong Kong people a thorough explanation as soon as possible.”

He also thanked the Legislative Council for issuing a letter of condemnation to the US. “I am grateful that the council used another way to follow up on the issue,” he said.

US whistle-blower Edward Snowden, who was a technical assistant for the Central Intelligence Agency, earlier revealed that the US government had been hacking Hong Kong’s communication networks.

Legco urged the government to seek clarification from Washington and to boost monitoring of online security systems. It was the legislature’s last motion before the summer recess - passed in a rare show of unanimity. Lawmakers said what the US did had violated basic human rights.

Wong Kwok-kin, of the Beijing-loyalist Federation of Trade Unions, accused Human Rights Monitor director Law Yuk-kai of “double standards”. “Instead of condemning the US, Law decided to criticise the SAR government for not handling the issue in a legal way,” Wong said.

Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah said the incident showed the government had not fulfilled its duty to protect the right of residents to keep their communication confidential.

Party colleague Dennis Kwok said the US had no basis for blaming the Hong Kong government for “letting Snowden go”, as Washington had not provided all of the information required by the Department of Justice.

Performing arts and culture sector lawmaker Ma Fung-kwok, who moved the motion debate, hoped it would send a clear message to the US.

Separately, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said the government had acted strictly in accordance with local laws in dealing with the saga.