Type to search

‘Don’t Help a Villain Do Evil’: China Slams SpaceX ‘Spy Network’

Chinese military researchers have been studying the role of Starlink satellites in the Ukraine war and warned about its risks to Beijing, while calling for the creation of a similar network

SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk poses after arriving for an award, in Berlin
SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk poses after arriving for an award, in Berlin. Photo: Reuters


State-backed Chinese military and media accounts have slammed a report that Elon Musk’s SpaceX group is building a network of ‘spy satellites’ for the United States.

On Friday, Reuters news agency reported on a classified project run by SpaceX to build hundreds of satellites for a US intelligence agency to help the American military with reconnaissance and identification of potential targets practically anywhere in the world.

Chinese military said on Sunday that the plan exposed Washington’s “shamelessness and double standards” as US officials have, in the past, accused Chinese tech companies of threatening US security.


Also on AF: Russia, China Plan to Build Lunar Nuclear Power Plant by 2035


“All countries worldwide should be vigilant and protect against new and even bigger security threats created by the US government,” read a post by Junzhengping, an account run by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Weibo. The account has 1.1 million followers.

“We urge US companies to not help a villain do evil.”

Chinese researchers in the PLA have, over the past two years, studied the role of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites in securing military communications in Ukraine, as the country pushes back against a Russian invasion.

“The excellent performance of ‘Starlink’ satellites in this Russian-Ukrainian conflict will certainly prompt the US and Western countries to use ‘Starlink’ extensively” in possible hostilities in Asia, researchers at the Army Engineering University of the PLA noted in 2022.

While repeatedly warning about the risks Starlink poses to China, those researchers also called for the development of a similar satellite network at home.

In January this year, Nikkei Asia reported that China had started building a launch site for “China’s StarLink” in Hainan province. Beijing aims to launch 26,000 satellites backed by state-run firms from the site, to build a network spanning the globe, the report said.

The US’s planned network is separate from Starlink, however, and part of SpaceX’s ‘Starshield’ unit. “No one can hide,” one source said about the system’s potential capability.


‘Challenge to global stability’

Meanwhile, Beijing’s state-run media accused the United States of threatening global security.

Wang Yanan, chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge, a magazine overseen by the ruling Communist Party, was quoted in an interview as saying the SpaceX satellite project posed “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,” Wang told The Global Times, a Chinese state-controlled newspaper, in an interview published on Sunday.

Neither the Global Times or Junzhengping mentioned Musk or his electric vehicle firm Tesla, which has a large manufacturing presence in China.

But back in 2022, the Financial Times had reported that the billionaire’s ties to the US military would prove to be eventual risk for Tesla in China.

Beijing has, since, banned the passage of Tesla vehicles in certain areas of the country, citing concerns over their ability to collective sensitive data. Tesla cars are especially restricted from entering government-affiliated buildings, according to recent reports.


  • Reuters, with additional inputs from Vishakha Saxena


Also read:


Chinese Startup Launches Most Powerful Rocket by Private Firm


China Fears US Will Use SpaceX to Bring Calamity to World


Elon Musk’s Starlink to Connect With Planes, Trucks, Ships


China Seeking Ways to Take Out or Control Enemy Satellites


China’s Low-Earth Satellites Push in Starlink Catch-Up Bid


Congress Wants Musk to Explain Satellite Block in Taiwan – Forbes


China May ‘Need to Destroy’ Musk’s Starlink – SCMP


US Lauds SpaceX Shutdown of Russian EM Attack – Defense News


CCP Asked Elon Musk Not to Sell Starlink in China – The Verge


China’s Military Fears Elon Musk’s Starlink – PLA Daily



Vishakha Saxena

Vishakha Saxena is the Multimedia and Social Media Editor at Asia Financial. She has worked as a digital journalist since 2013, and is an experienced writer and multimedia producer. As a trader and investor, she is keenly interested in new economy, emerging markets and the intersections of finance and society. You can write to her at [email protected]


AF China Bond