‘Shamelessness and Double Standards’: China Criticizes US Spy Satellite Program

Image: GSSAP (Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program)

By John Miles,
Published by Sputnik International, 20 March 2024

The United States frequently warns of the alleged dangers of Russian and Chinese surveillance, but whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed more than a decade ago that the US government is able to spy on communications anywhere in the world.

Chinese media slammed a US plan to launch hundreds of surveillance satellites into space this week after a report in Western media exposed the United States National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) program.

“We urge US companies to not help a villain do evil,” read a social media post Sunday from the Weibo account Junzhengping, which is run by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). “All countries worldwide should be vigilant and protect against new and even bigger security threats created by the US government.”

The account accused the US government of “shamelessness and double standards” for embarking on the ambitious spy effort while warning about alleged security threats from China. US Congress has been debating legislation in recent days that would effectively ban the social media application TikTok in the United States. TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance but is operated from within the US with oversight from American companies.

Chinese commentator Wang Yanan joined in on the criticism, calling the US surveillance project “a challenge to global security and stability.”

“The United States’ high-profile intelligence reconnaissance of countries or regions it is concerned about will inevitably cause some hot issues to become more sensitive or even escalate,” said Wang in an interview with the Global Times newspaper. Wang is the editor of the Chinese magazine Aerospace Knowledge.

The spying project is being pursued in partnership with billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which also manages the Starlink consumer communications company.

Musk operates manufacturing facilities in China for automaker Tesla but the United States exerts substantial influence over the tech magnate by providing him with billions of dollars worth of government contracts, some of which are confidential. The model allows the US government to maintain significant influence over private companies. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also has a significant relationship with Washington as a contractor for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), providing the spy service with web hosting and other services.

Tech giant Meta, which operates the Facebook and Instagram platforms, was founded in part with the help of funds from In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital arm it uses to promote technology which assists it in mass data collection.

Oracle founder Larry Ellison is one of the figures most closely linked to the spy agency, having initially founded his company to provide technological services for the CIA. ByteDance is required to periodically submit TikTok’s algorithm and moderation practices to Oracle for third-party review as a result of an agreement reached under former US President Donald Trump.

Ex UK cabinet minister Vince Cable once admitted that Washington’s allegations of security threats from Chinese technology are unfounded, confessing that the UK government banned Chinese company Huawei as a diplomatic favor for the United States.

Former government contractor Edward Snowden revealed the massive surveillance capabilities of the United States more than a decade ago, leaking documents showing that the US National Security Agency (NSA) is able to spy on communications that take place anywhere in the world. Snowden is currently residing in Russia after fleeing US persecution for his act of whistleblowing.

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