NSA leaker Edward Snowden has reached hero status for many Chinese internet users. His Chinese fans on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, have posted Snowden’s old modelling photos and “Snowden Handsome” is the first result to come back when his last name is entered as a search term.
A Weibo survey found that 78 percent of respondents regarded Snowden as a freedom fighter who is protecting civil liberties. As for how the Chinese government should handle the case, 81 percent supported giving Snowden asylum with the aim of either protecting him or extracting more information from him – or both. Only 3 percent supported surrendering him to the United States.
Snowden, a former consultant for the National Security Agency, is hiding out in Hong Kong since releasing details about the NSA’s vast program to collect data on Americans’ phone calls and emails.