Balloon just part of a troubling trend
There is a Chinese curse that says, "May you live in interesting times.“ And recently it looks like the Chinese government is doing its darnedest to make these interesting times indeed.
Last week it was first reported U.S. and Canadian defense officials have been tracking a high-altitude surveillance balloon that they say originated in the People’s Republic of China as the balloon traveled over the northern United States.
CNN reported Saturday that President Joe Biden said a mission to shoot down the Chinese balloon off the East Coast was successful, and that he had ordered the Pentagon to knock the aircraft out of the sky as soon as it was safe to do so.
The balloon, which was the size of three buses according to a defense official, was spotted over Montana, where the US military has underground intercontinental ballistic missile silos.
The balloon was not capable of gathering intelligence better than China can get from its low-orbit satellites, senior military leaders said, nor did it pose a danger to people on the ground. Indeed the military had argued against shooting it down over concern over falling debris.
China said Friday the balloon was in fact a "civilian airship" used for weather research that had been blown off course — about 6,000 miles off course.
This is not the first time the Chinese government has been discovered operating in the United States.
In November, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Senate hearing China has created stealthy police stations in the United States to extend its control over the growing population of Chinese students, visa workers, legal immigrants and illegal migrants living in the United States.
The U.S. government apparently has taken no action against these unsanctioned offices
Chinese influence in the United States is also illustrated by the concerns about the intelligence-gathering capabilities of Chinese-owned TikTok as well as to Chinese purchases of American farmland.
The Chinese government has indeed made it so we live in interesting, if not alarming, times.