On Sunday afternoon, just as the news broke that Edward Snowden, the man who leaked classified documents about NSA surveillance programs to newspaper reporters, had sought refuge in a Hong Kong hotel, Michael Bloomberg’s office announced the mayor would be meeting with Hong Kong’s top politician, C.Y. Leung Monday. However, just a few hours after the meeting with Leung was announced, Bloomberg’s office released a schedule update that said it was “being rescheduled.”
Bloomberg’s office has not responded to a question from TPM about the reason for the scheduling change. The initial schedule described the meeting between Bloomberg and Leung as a “courtesy visit” where reporters would be permitted to take pictures, but not ask questions.
Leung is Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. He is the head of government in Hong Kong, which is overseen by the People’s Republic of China.
Snowden’s revelation that he was responsible for the NSA leak and had left the United States for Hong Kong raised the question of whether the government there will allow him to be extradited. Hong Kong has an extradition agreement with the U.S., but there is a provision in the treaty that allows the central Chinese government in Beijing to veto an extradition request. Chinese officials have not yet indicated how they will proceed if the U.S. requests Snowden’s extradition.