A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said Monday that what happens to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange reflects the hypocrisy of the so-called maintenance of press freedom by the United States and the United Kingdom.
Spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks at a daily press briefing after the UK government on Friday approved the extradition of Assange to the United States, where he may face up to 175 years in jail on criminal charges.
“Wikileaks released large numbers of documents on US-launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and disclosed facts about CIA’s cyber hacking operations,” Wang said, noting that for this reason, the US government has woven plenty of charges for more than a decade to continue to suppress Assange and try to arrest him.
He said that the UK has spared no effort in cooperating with the US in arresting and extraditing Assange and processed the case at top speed, which puts on full display the UK’s allegiance to its special relationship with the US, and highlights the fact that the US and the UK have worked hand in glove to bring transnational repression against particular individuals.
“Assange’s case is like a mirror, which reflects the hypocrisy of the U.S. and the UK on ‘press freedom’,” Wang said.
He pointed out that people are free to expose other countries but subject to severe punishment if they expose the US, the UK and their allies; people are treated either as heroes if they expose other countries or as criminals if they expose the US, the UK and their partners; in other countries, holding the media accountable amounts to “political persecution,” while in the US and the UK, clamping down on media is to “act in accordance with the law.”
All eyes are on Assange’s human rights conditions and what may become of him. Let us hope and believe that at the end of the day, fairness and justice will prevail. Hegemony and abuse of might will certainly not last forever, said the spokesperson. ■