Questions about the Chinese spy balloon are shifting. Officials are now asking exactly who made it.
Beijing insists that the downed balloon was a civilian airship for weather research. But the Chinese regime never specified which firm it belonged to.
An article found on Chinese Internet portal NetEase lists a number of companies, all of them capable of building unmanned airships.
These include autonomous aircraft developer E-Hang, China’s largest weather balloon producer Zhuzhou Rubber Research and Design Institute, drone manufacturer Da-Jiang, and wireless tech maker Parrot.
Both E-Hang and Parrot advertise themselves as civil-military integration enterprises, meaning they work closely with the Chinese military. What’s more, Da-Jiang is deemed a military company and has long been sanctioned by the United States.
Another article exposed alleged links between the Zhuzhou Rubber Research and Design Institute and the Chinese army.
The institute has reportedly obtained licenses for weapons research and production.
It also took orders from the General Armament Department, the agency in charge of arming China’s national army, known as the PLA.
The article, titled “A Brief History of ‘Wandering Balloons,'” was quickly scrubbed from the internet.
But according to public information, the Zhuzhou Institute is also a designated supplier to the Joint Staff Department of the PLA.