Question for readers

If the publisher of a small website dedicated to the dissemination of the state-secrets of the Chinese government were operating their publishing outfit out of the United States and published a bunch of leaked Chinese state secrets (both on their website and through various larger media organizations) and the Chinese government declared that a violation of Chinese law, should the US government arrest and detain and possibly extradite that person to China?

Let’s assume for a moment that this person is a United States citizen. Is he guilty of treason against China? Let’s assume he is Canadian. Would it be reasonable to say this person was violating Chinese law and should be tried and possibly executed in China? Does Chinese law trump civil rights and civil liberties for non-Chinese citizens? Do China’s legitimate security concerns outweigh the civil liberties of non-Chinese citizens? Of American citizens?

One last question: Should all the media outlets who published the material they received from Assange be punished in kind? If not, why are they held to different standards? If so, what does this say about freedom of the press?

via League of Ordinary Gentlemen.

We don’t think about other countries’ state secrets the way we think about Wikileaks.  Take the Laogai Research Foundation, set up by the Chinese dissident Harry Wu, to receive information about human rights violations within China.  I am sure the Chinese government regards this as espionage.  In fact, Harry Wu himself, who had by then become a U.S. citizen, entered China with legal papers in 1995 to do research and was arrested for “stealing state secrets.”  After an international protest, he was deported instead.  Nobody in this country said Harry Wu should be hunted down and turned over to the Chinese government.  Let them enforce their own censorship – if they can.

The Chinese government, by the way, has banned publication of Wikileaks information.  And Harry Wu and Julian Assange have both participated in the Oslo Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan organization which organizes meetings of human rights activists.  Assange was a reasonably well-respected human rights activist right up until the point he created problems for the U.S. government.

Click on Washington Post for “Media in China, Arab Middle East suppressing WikiLeaks coverage”

Click on Washington Post for a graphic giving a breakdown of what kinds of State Department cables were released.

Click on Julian Assange Wiki for his biography.

Click on Harry Wu Wiki and Laogai Research Foundation Wiki for Wu’s biography and background on the Laogai foundation.

Click on Oslo Freedom Forum Wiki for lists of participants in the forum.  Harry Wu took part in 2009, Julian Assange in 2010.

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