Foreign ministry spokesperson said the US has presented the true face of its ‘freedom of speech and the press’
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has hit out against the order to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the US, issued by a UK court earlier this week, saying that it represents the hypocritical nature of the US government.
“This is the true face of the US ‘freedom of speech and the press.’ The extradition of Assange to the US can lay bare the hypocritical nature of the US government better than the WikiLeaks revelations,”Wang Wenbin was the spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, speaking during a conference held on Thursday.
According to the Chinese official, Julian Assange had been through a lot since his reporting about alleged US war crime crimes. “those who expose the so-called atrocities of other countries are heroes, while those who expose the scandals of the US are criminals.”
The London Magistrates Court issued Wednesday a formal order for Julian Assange’s extradition to the US. Assange will spend up to 175 Years in prison on the espionage convictions against him. Assange published a cache of classified Pentagon and State Department documents that detailed war crimes by US troops in Afghanistan, and Iraq in 2010.
The Espionage Act charges him with trying to hack Pentagon computer systems.
Assange’s legal team has argued that the UK court’s ruling was equivalent to issuing him a “death sentence” as the whistleblower’s defense has insisted that the US might subject him to solitary confinement and psychological torture. Meanwhile, Assange’s wife, Stella Moris, claims that her husband’s health has significantly deteriorated ever since he was placed in London’s maximum-security Belmarsh Prison three years ago, adding that he suffered a stroke in October 2021.
International media freedom advocates have voiced fierce criticisms against both the US and British governments following Julian Assange’s arrest. According to Assange’s supporters, he is a prisoner for conscience and being punished by Washington and London. He argues that the case against him establishes a chilling precedent. This suggests that journalists who investigate Western misconduct may be subject to retribution.
Assange denies all allegations against him. However, his supporters and defenders point out that neither Assange nor WikiLeaks was under US jurisdiction at the time documents were published. They insist Assange had engaged in journalism that is legal in the US, and that accusations of him conspiring to hack the Pentagon’s computer systems were based on discredited testimony of a convicted Icelandic criminal.
WikiLeaks’ official position on the charges is that they are politically motivated and “represent an unprecedented attack on press freedom and the public’s right to know – seeking to criminalize basic journalistic activity.”
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