China joins calls for explanations of US surveillance programs

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China is joining calls for Washington to provide explanations following disclosures of National Security Agency programs which collect millions of telephone records and track foreign Internet activity on U.S. networks.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a briefing Monday that Washington needs to heed international concerns and "give the global community a necessary explanation."

Officials and lawmakers in Germany and other countries are already pressing Washington for information following the disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden of the two programs.

Snowden flew to the Chinese autonomous region of Hong Kong on May 20 and is believed to still be there. China hasn't said whether it will deport him.

U.S. officials have defended the surveillance programs as essential to disrupting terrorist plots.