Snowden leaves, but tough lessons remain

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-6-24 1:03:01

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Snowden to leave Moscow for Cuba: media

Edward Snowden, the ex-CIA whistle-blower, left Hong Kong yesterday for Moscow, and it is reported that he will then fly on to Havana, while his destination and ultimate fate is still unclear.

The whole world benefits from Snowden's exposure. He has uncovered the inside story of the US government's infringement of civil rights and its cyber espionage around the world, which has put the US on the moral back foot.

The US' extraordinary hegemony has been exposed. Snowden would have found it easier to settle down if the secrets he had uncovered had come from an ordinary country. However, it is highly risky for him to confront the US government. It will be very difficult for him to find a permanent haven if the US views any country who shelters Snowden as an enemy.

However, it is also obvious that US hegemony has been limited by this era of globalization. Against the current backdrop, the pressure of public opinion will be unbearable for any government should it extradite this whistle-blower to the US.

Perhaps it is China that should be awakened and alerted by Snowden's information. For some time, US accusations against China on network security have been gaining momentum, while the reality is that the US itself can attack China almost at will.

China has to catch up with the US on network security technology to completely reverse the current international climate of opinion in this regard and restore China's image, as it is one of the main victims of US cyber attacks.

China should form its own network security forces in a just and forceful manner, and fully enhance its capability in safeguarding network security. Our current understanding and input in this regard are far from enough and we have been bound by the public opinion of the West to some extent.

There's a gap in the understanding of cyberspace between Chinese and Americans, while US strategic offensive and defensive capabilities have exceeded those of other countries by a comfortable margin.

It is worth noting that we may not have a clear idea about the network threats we face, nor can we have a full understanding of the techniques of cyber attacks that the US already has or is developing now. The importance that US attached to the Internet is not accidental.

Snowden's departure from Hong Kong will prevent the Sino-US relationship from being affected. However, the long-term lessons that should be learned from this is that we should have a sense of urgency in developing our Internet technology.

A secure Sino-US relationship requires good will from both sides, but it is also very important to narrow the gap in security technology between the two.  The maturity of China's network security technology will affect the US' fundamental attitude and way of thinking in deciding its Internet policy toward China.

We wish Snowden good luck in this difficult time. His personal fate will reflect the game between US hegemony and global pursuit for fairness and justice.

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