As I have compared and contrasted before, the US can be particularly vicious and relentless, when it comes to hunting its “fugitives”, such as Bobby Fischer, etc.. And it really doesn’t matter how long Bobby Fischer went on the run, the US government doesn’t have much of a history of forgiving (unless you are an elite campaign contributor, which often will get your a presidential pardon).
And in this respect, I doubt very much that any Western nations are willing or capable of giving refuge to a man like Snowden.
UK has even gone to the length to ordering Air Lines to NOT fly Snowden to UK. (Interesting, what if Snowden lands on the Falkland Island?)
But who can give refuge to “fugitives” from the West??
Many are poo-pooing the idea of Hong Kong giving Snowden refuge, saying that HK is not really independent. True enough. But deep down right now, there is a special kind of irony in HK, where many “Democracy” devotees are hoping and wishing that China will give mercy where the West would not.
Some online have snarkly asked, “when will China have its Edward Snowden?”
The answer is simple, China had plenty of Snowden-like figures, except none really leaked any thing remotely global and secretive and damaging as Snowden.
The West has made mockery and idolatry of people like Liu Xiaobo, CGC, etc., even made them into celebrities, with sensationalized escapes detailed in media.
YET, China has simply let most of them go after a while. Many Pro-Democracy people even returned to China to do business, without the risks of being arrested.
HK particularly, harbors many persona non-grata from mainland China. China does not go after them, even though they could technically.
Part of this is simply practicality. China sees no point or value in going through all the troubles of global man hunt to bring back a few noisy activists, most of whom do not amount to much in the asylum of the West.
“Asylum”, aptly, a word that both describes a refuge and a mental hospital.
Political celebrities fade as easily as Hollywood celebrities.
That is a lesson that the West has not learned from China. And a Democracy is no Democracy without mercy.