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As Unknown Payload Floats Above America, 140 Million People Now at Risk of Most Nefarious Chinese Action

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It’s kind of creepy.

A Chinese balloon is floating over the United States.

What’s it doing there? Spying?

Perhaps. Which is strange, since China is already using satellite technology to watch us.

Maybe the Chinese put it there just to let us know that they can. Or, as they are claiming, it might just be a runaway weather balloon.

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In any case, military advisers told President Joe Biden not to shoot the balloon down due to potential damage from falling debris.


“China is confident that it now knows the U.S. only too well, and it is mastering the political, economic, cultural, and military methods of nullifying American advantages,” wrote professor, historian and California farmer Victor Davis Hanson in 2019.

What Hanson didn’t mention is TikTok.

Does TikTok pose a bigger threat to America than this balloon?

TikTok is sucking massive amounts of data from American users. And it’s owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. That’s not just right-wing conspiracy stuff. It’s been reported by the decidedly left-leaning Guardian.

While The Guardian was squeamish about clearly stating that TikTok data is going directly to the Chinese government, it hinted at it, noting that governments around the world are uneasy about the wildly popular app.

In 2020, India banned TikTok and other apps from China. In 2021, Ireland began an investigation. The U.K. Parliament shut down its own TikTok account in August, The Guardian reported. Some U.S. states are also cracking down on TikTok.

Former President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning TikTok in August 2020. The order said, “TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories.

“This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.”

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But the executive order got bogged down in legal challenges, and then Trump left office. And, of course, if you don’t already know, you can easily guess what happened to the order.

Right. Biden scrapped it.

So TikTok is free to engage in the digital strip-mining of its users’ data.

The app has a billion worldwide monthly users, according to a 2021 corporate update. Of those active users, 140 million are in the U.S.

Think about that.

China is learning all about our young people — where they go, who they’re with, and even their interests.

This is just one avenue of Chinese intelligence-gathering. Hanson has repeatedly pointed out that the Chinese communists have sent hundreds of thousands of students to the West, especially the U.S.

“It is a brilliant strategy,” said Hanson, who noted that, early in the 20th century, Japan placed some 250,000 students in Germany, France and Britain “to soak up everything from army organization to nautical engineering.”

Arrogant Westerners, he said, believe visiting Chinese will be so enamored of the glories of the West that they will return home as “agents of change.”

“More likely, Chinese expatriates will return to China in the fashion of early-20th-century Japanese residents, attachés, and students in the United States,” Hanson said.

“They equated their experience of Western affluence with license and decadence and, as a result, were determined to marry Western engineering expertise with superior Asian discipline, nationalism, and patriotism to nullify the United States as a great Pacific power.”

Sound familiar?

I recall my own university faculty days, perhaps 10 years ago, when a left-wing academic vice president told us to send copies of our business course information to a Chinese university with whom he had developed a relationship.

I believed that the “relationship” was a one-sided effort by the Chinese communists to learn our academic methods.

In another situation, a Chinese student studying at our university was referred to me for help with her doctoral dissertation. She was getting anxious because she would soon return to China and would be restricted as to what she could obtain given the Chinese censorship of the internet.

So I helped her, she went home, and I thought no more about it.

And then in the U.S., private companies began censoring things on the internet. Wonder where they got that idea.

Censorship (and, apparently, COVID lockdowns), student intelligence gatherers, and big-time data mining — looks like there is a place where all these threads go.

Oh, yeah. And there’s that balloon thingy, too.

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Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.
Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.




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