Beijing, June 18 (IANS) Beijing has rubbished a former US president's claim that Edward Snowden, a former US intelligence contractor-turned-whistleblower hiding in Hong Kong, was an agent of China.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying termed such a claim as "sheer nonsense" Monday, a day after former US vice president Dick Cheney expressed suspicion that Snowden had chosen Hong Kong due to being a Chinese agent, Xinhua reported.
The 29-year-old former CIA-employee fled Hong Kong May 20 after exposing two classified US National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programmes, one collecting US phone records and the other mining Internet data.
In Hong Kong, Snowden provided The Guardian and The Washington Post with top-secret documents that has led to a series of revelations about the extent of US surveillance, to which several nations, including US allies have sought explanations.
Snowden has revealed the existence of the US' Prism programme, which gives the NSA direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US Internet giants.