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Chinese Shipping Cranes as Spying Assets Shows How It Uses Everything to Advance Its Hegemonic Goals

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

China continues practically unabated in its quest for global hegemony.  Sadly, some in America aren’t paying attention. Instead of gearing up to protect America, they’re either on the sidelines or working to help expand US-China entanglements. 


Now comes recent news that US military and intelligence officials are investigating reports that Chinese manufactured cranes (which are used to load and unload huge container ships in US ports) contain spying technologies that allow the Communist Party of China (CCP) to have eyes and ears at all American ports.  This is a real problem because these cranes are used in a large number of US ports all across the US. As part of their design, these cranes have intelligent sensors that can track cargo and the movement of ships. 

Chances are the CCP is not merely tracking shipments of children’s toys. They can track everything from military shipments to the comings and goings of important supply chain shipments with these cranes.

Manipulating cranes in this way is just another way the CCP flexes its maritime powers. China already has the largest maritime fleet. As China is seeking to rule the world, it isn’t merely building a larger military and navy to accomplish its goals. It is using shipping as one of its ways to control world commerce. They’ve been buying up ports around the world and their share of shipping or port cranes is at 70% dominance. Everything China does is designed to advance its goal of world domination. Spying with cranes is part and parcel of that scheme.


China’s attempt to dominate world-wide shipping and using its dominance in the crane market should give Americans serious pause. There is talk of outlawing Chinese cranes in American ports. That may well be a smart move. But the good news is that we have at least some laws on the books that stop China’s plans to dominate shipping at least within the US. The Jones Act is one of these statutes.

The Jones Act is a pre-World War II law that requires that any shipping or transportations services going between two or more US ports must be American built, American crewed, and American owned and flagged ships. This means that Chinese ships cannot sail up and down our more than 20,000 miles of inland waterways pretending to be shipping goods to a wide array of American ports while actually spying on us and collecting sensitive private information.

America has more inland waterways than any other nation on earth so we ought not let our adversaries have easy access to our heartland. If you thought the spy balloon flying all the way across the country was bad, or if Chinese spy cranes in our ports is bad, imagine how much worse it would be if Chinese cargo ships could sail all over our more than 20,000 miles of inland waterways with high-tech spy equipment on board.


The Jones act also provides other benefits. For example, it ensures that we have at least a modest sized ship building and ship repairing industry — something that our military absolutely must have in order to maintain our nation’s domestic maritime capacity. It guarantees that we have trained and experienced mariners — something else our military needs. It also acts as a virtual wall that helps protect our homeland security and allows us to focus our security assets primarily on our major outer perimeter ports where there is so much international shipping from around the globe. 

Periodically, some seek to discard or undermine the Jones act, not understanding that doing so would play into the CCP's hands. It would be the height of irresponsibility to allow China to dominate shipping within our own borders. Because China views its business and industrial arm as part of its military apparatus, it would be very happy to heavily subsidize shipping in such a way as to drive American shippers out, and then they would have an almost total stranglehold on the US and our economy. This will allow them to force us into submission, even without waging, a conventional war. Simply stated this would give them a chokehold. This would allow them to force us to “tap out” in the first round.


Here's the truth: China’s so-called private businesses are not actually distinguishable in any important way from the CCP’s military apparatus. Additionally, China is preparing to rule and dominate the world and while fighting World War III is not outside of their plans, they would prefer to get a stranglehold on us and force us to “tap out.” 

Now would be a horrible time to play into the CCP’s hands and make their goals easier to achieve. In a very real sense, the Jones Act along with vigilance on the part of our leaders ensures that the CCP cannot execute its hegemonic plans within the US. 

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