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China rejects spy claims against Snowden

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman on Monday described as "sheer nonsense" claims that a former U.S. intelligence contractor who is hiding in Hong Kong was an agent of China.

Hua Chunying made the comment at a daily press briefing after former U.S. vice president Dick Cheney expressed suspicion Sunday that Edward Snowden chose Hong Kong because he was an agent of China.

"This is sheer nonsense," Hua said.

The 29-year-old former CIA-employee fled Hong Kong on May 20 after exposing two classified U.S. National Security Agency surveillance programs, one collecting U.S. phone records and the other mining Internet data.

In Hong Kong, he provided The Guardian with top-secret documents that has led to a series of revelations about the extent of U.S. surveillance, to which several nations, including U.S. allies, have demanded explanations.

"The United States should take the concerns and demands of the international community and the public over this issue seriously, and give a necessary explanation," said the spokeswoman.

[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 17Jun13]

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Privacy and counterintelligence
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