Residents of Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and a few other states in the American heartland had better start studying up on their Mandarin - because, according to a few completely insane conspiracy websites, they're about to become part of China.
The theory goes like this - China owns a lot of US debt. China wants to convert said debt into equity. China straight-up buys states and land from the US government, turns them into part of China and voila! The Bank of China is in charge of Nebraska.
The website WorldTruth.tv has posted an article-cum-paranoid-manifesto on the subject. The piece, gleefully capitalized as "China Poised To DEMAND U.S. LAND As Payment For U.S. Debt" joins headlines such as "10 Most Compelling Pieces of Evidence That Prove Time Travel Exists" and one simply titled "BROKEN PROMISES."
But while WorldTruth has been the one raking in the traffic and Facebook 'likes' (currently at 44,000 for the story) after posting the article last week, this conspiracy theory has actually been around for quite a while.
Debunking website Snopes first ran a piece on this theory in 2009 when, following the financial crisis, Americans had even more debt-related China fears than ever. The theory failed "the common sense test" according to Snopes, which wrote that the idea hinges on faulty understandings of eminent domain law, debt structuring and, well, reality.
But that hasn't stopped certain sections of the internet from reacting as if this week's WorldTruth rehash of the story is about to play out in the American heartland.
YouTube commenters, the Internet's worst of the worst, have alternatively been blaming Hillary Clinton (typically "HILLARY") and Obama (see: Barack HUSSEIN No-bama) while also giving fair credit to "Obama"s [sic] masters the illuminati."
One wonderful user simply proposed, "Just give them Michigan nobody will care lol," and was then promptly accosted by commenters who told him to "just give them your mom." (These are all real, by the way - check them out here.)
In dissecting the theory, the one thing we can't seem to figure out is why China specifically wants this section of the US, reaching from just north of Oklahoma to the southern border of South Dakota. From what we can tell - and conspiracy theorists, please correct us if we're wrong - that "China" blob was thrown into the middle of the map because why the hell not.
If you're questioning the specifics of why set of states is going to be sold to the Chinese government and not another, then you're probably already thinking about it too hard.
When the Chinese landowners get to their newly-bought American territories and begin to set up shop, they'll be happily met by the Chinese troops who invaded America's WalMarts in our previous conspiracy theory story on Jade Helm 15.