TikTokers Josh and Archie flew a makeshift “spy balloon” over the Chinese embassy in London as a comical response to the suspected Chinese spy balloon that drifted into US airspace on January 28. Since the Chinese embassy is “legally considered to be China”, the the pair quip in their TikTok video, “we have decided to fly a balloon over Chinese airspace”. In order to carry out the espionage mission, they buy some massive weather balloons off Ebay then head to a shop to purchase the helium they need to get the vessel off the ground.
Josh and Archie are also seen buying a small “spy camera” to attach to the balloon.
During the video, they conduct a trial run with a backup balloon and some rope.
After deeming that successful, the “moment had come to spy on the embassy of the People’s Republic of China”.
The comical duo knew the stakes were high: “this is one of the United Kingdom’s most highly secured buildings”, they joke in the video.
READ MORE: US recovers critical sensors from debris of suspected Chinese spy balloon shot down
In a statement after the craft was shot down, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the use of force was “an obvious overreaction and a serious violation of international practice”, adding: “China will resolutely uphold the relevant company’s legitimate rights and interests”.
But the US maintains it was a Chinese spy balloon without a doubt.
The China balloon shot down was equipped to detect and collect intelligence signals as part of a huge, military-linked aerial surveillance program that targeted more than 40 countries, the Biden administration declared Thursday, citing imagery from American U-2 spy planes.
The balloon’s presence over US airspace prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel a weekend trip to China aimed at dialing down tensions that were already high.