Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., told Newsmax Tuesday that American athletes should be banned from using China’s digital yuan currency while at the 2022 Winter Beijing Olympic Games because of the communist nation’s routine practice of embedding spyware into digital systems.
“The danger of this is that once you have them into your wallet, this is (tech giant) Huawei, this is the Chinese Communist Party,” Blackburn said on “American Agenda” Tuesday. “Once you have given them access to your wallet, they're going to be there. They are known for embedding spyware into both their hardware and their software.”
Blackburn and other Republican Senators urged the U.S. Olympic Committee last week to prohibit US athletes from using the new Chinese digital currency because of that nation’s ability and practice of inserting spyware in technology that could transmit a person’s information to Beijing.
“Olympic athletes should be aware that the digital yuan may be used to surveil Chinese citizens and those visiting China on an unprecedented scale, with the hopes that they will maintain digital yuan wallets on their smartphones and continue to use it upon return,” the Senators wrote in a letter to the Olympic Committee July 20, according to a South China Morning Post article.
According to the Bank of China, the currency has already funded some 70.8 million transactions worth 34.5 billion yuan, or $5.3 billion in US dollars in the last two years of trials for the currency.
Almost 21 million people have created digital wallets for the new currency, according to the story.
The Chinese bank is hoping to make the new currency popular during the 2022 Olympic Games by using “wearable” payment devices like gloves, badges, and clothes, for people to use at the various venues as well as self-service carts, and vending machines.
“There is a danger, and it is truly a concern of ours because people will be unsuspecting that they are downloading the spyware, and that it is now housed in their device, in their systems, and this gives the Chinese Communist Party the opportunity to build a profile of you,” Blackburn said. “As I call it, your virtual you, so they would know your spending habits, they would know your movements.”
The Chinese government said the Senators allegations showed how little they understood the new currency.
“We suggest they figure out what a digital currency really is,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian said last week. “The U.S. politicians should abide by the spirit stipulated in the Olympic Charter, stop making sports a political matter, and stop making troubles out of the digital currency in China.”
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