Arizona Democrat Senate Candidate Founded Company Funded by Chinese Tech Giant

Arizona Democrat Senate candidate Mark Kelly founded a company that has recieved millions in funding from Chinese tech giant Tencent, Real Clear Politics reported on Wednesday.

World View Enterprises, a private spacecraft tourism company that Kelly founded in 2013, received two rounds of capital funding from Tencent in 2014 and 2016.

Chinese technology companies are obligated to cooperate with the nation’s Communist authoritarian government and intelligence services by Chinese law, and some argue that the structure of the nation’s big companies such as Tencent renders them little more than state-run enterprises.

The federal government is increasingly skeptical of companies such as Tencent specifically, which suspended its streaming service of National Basketball Association games in China after the Daryl Morey Hong Kong protests controversy. Tencent is the parent company of Chinese social media platform WeChat, which participated in prolific censorship of criticism regarding the Chinese government’s deceptive response to the coronavirus epidemic.

Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz introduced a legislative proposal to bar federal employees from conducting communications on platforms owned by Chinese companies Tencent, Huawei, and ZTE, citing the possibility of Chinese surveillance of sensitive U.S. information.

Kelly is financially linked to the company, raising serious questions as to why the Democratic Senate candidate thought it would be a sober decision to do business with a Chinese company for an enterprise involving sensitive air and space technology. His personal financial disclosure forms for his Senate campaign reveal he still maintains a personal financial stake of between $100,000 and $250,000 in World View, and his campaign itself accepted a $5,000 contribution from Tencent chief exploration officer David Wallerstein.

As of Thursday morning, Kelly is yet to provide an answer for his investment connections with the Chinese technology company.

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