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China calls US and UK press freedom hypocrites over Julian Assange trial

China accuses US and UK of press freedom hypocrisy for calling out Beijing crackdown and trying Australian Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for espionage

  • China accuses US and UK of hypocrisy over Julian Assange’s extradition
  • Assange to be charged in US for leaking classified US documents
  • Chinese say ‘trumped up’ charges expose double standards of press freedom
  • Australian government says it is quietly discussing the matter with US authorities

China has branded American and British press freedom hypocrites over the impending extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to face charges of spying that could land the Australian in jail for life.

Assange’s extradition to the US to face charges for leaking thousands of official secrets has been approved by British Home Secretary Priti Patel after a protracted legal battle.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin accused the US of pursuing “trumped-up” charges against Assange for revealing secrets about the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the CIA’s cyber attacks against other countries.

China has labeled the US and UK hypocrites when it comes to press freedom as the two countries prepare to extradite Australian Julian Assange to face charges of espionage.

China has labeled the US and UK hypocrites when it comes to press freedom as the two countries prepare to extradite Australian Julian Assange to face charges of espionage.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the US and UK conspired against Assange, using

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the US and UK conspired against Assange, using “trumped up” charges to punish him for exposing US wrongdoing.

“The US and Britain are cooperating in taking cross-border action against certain individuals,” he said.

“The Assange case is a mirror that shows how hypocritical the US and UK claim to uphold press freedom is.

“People enjoy full freedoms to expose other countries and will be considered heroes if they do, but they will be severely punished and considered criminals if they expose their own country or its allies and partners.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in May called China the biggest global threat to press freedom, mentioned how many journalists were detained and accused the communist regime of increasing surveillance, harassment and intimidation.

Wenbin accused the US of concealing allegations of sexual assault, espionage and computer abuse against Assange, as well as pursuing the activist through covert surveillance, backstage deals “and other means.”

Assange was charged with raping two women in Sweden but fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London before he could be arrested and extradited.

The rape charges were eventually dropped due to Assange’s long-term asylum in the embassy, ​​but the US never gave up on the spying charges.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange seen here at Westminster Magistrates Court, accompanied by police in 2019 during his long battle to avoid an extradition warrant to the US

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange seen here at Westminster Magistrates Court, accompanied by police in 2019 during his long battle to avoid an extradition warrant to the US

Mr Wenbin said all eyes would be on Mr Assange’s human rights and expressed the hope that “justice” would prevail over “abuse and hegemony”.

Assange faces up to 175 years in prison on 18 charges in the US under the Espionage Act for leaking classified documents in 2010 and 2011.

He is serving time in Belmarsh Prison in London for violating bail after his lengthy bid to gain asylum in Ecuador was unraveled and he was arrested after leaving the embassy where he had been holed up for about seven years. .

The US government said the leakage of thousands of secret diplomatic telegrams endangers the lives of US soldiers and those who secretly work for the Americans.

His defenders claim he exposed US war crimes and human rights abuses at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan, and exposed the CIA’s covert activities against its own citizens.

The US Department of Justice also accuses Assange of illegally hacking by helping Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst, obtain the classified information.

Manning was convicted of 17 charges for her role in the leak of the documents in 2013 and sentenced to 35 years in a maximum security prison.

However, she was released in 2017 when outgoing US President Barack Obama changed her sentence to reflect the years she had been incarcerated since her arrest in 2010.

Assange's accomplice in the leaking of the US documents, Chelsea Manning, spent seven years in prison but was released in 2017 when her 35-year sentence was commuted by Barack Obama

Assange’s accomplice in the leaking of the US documents, Chelsea Manning, spent seven years in prison but was released in 2017 when her 35-year sentence was commuted by Barack Obama

Calls have been made for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to make a public plea on Assange’s behalf, which he has so far resisted.

Labor Secretary Tony Burke said the government is making silent “behind the scenes” statements to the US on the matter.

“We are not going to conduct diplomacy with a megaphone,” Burke told Sky News on Sunday.

“This case has been going on for far too long. We said that in the opposition, we repeated that in the government.

“The matter must come to an end. Australia is not a party to the persecution taking place here [and] each country has its own legal system.’

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