Cranes, planes and automobiles… the new espionage, or “complete paranoia” as China claims?

News of the US Department of Defence’s concern that Chinese cranes in American ports could be used for surveillance was met with a mixture of alarm, scepticism, and derision. The Chinese Communist Party’s Global Times trumpeted: “This absurd claim, which fits the narrative style of American science fiction movies, is not only baseless, but also typical paranoid thinking”. As paranoid perhaps as Beijing banning Tesla cars from an area when the senior Party leadership is meeting there – a subject we’ll come to.