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From: John Tenney
China Sees UFOs, Calls It Science, Not Superstition
By CHARLES HUTZLER, Associated Press Writer
PUSALU VILLAGE, China (AP) - Poor farmers in Beijing's barren
hills saw it: an object swathed in colored light that some say
must have been a UFO.
They're not alone. People in 12 other Chinese cities reported
possible UFO sightings last month. UFO researchers, meanwhile,
were busy looking into claims of an alien abduction in Beijing.
At the cusp of the new millennium, China is astir with sightings
of otherworldly visitors. And for a country usually
straightjacketed by its communist rulers, alien sightings are
getting serious treatment.
China has a bimonthly magazine - circulation 400,000 - devoted
to UFO research. The conservative state-run media report UFO
sightings. UFO buffs claim support from eminent scientists and
liaisons with the secretive military, giving their work a
scientific sheen of respectability.
"Some of these sightings are real, some are fake and with others
it's unclear," said Shen Shituan, a rocket scientist, president
of Beijing Aerospace University and honorary director of the
China UFO Research Association. "All these phenomena are worth
For thousands of years, Chinese have looked to the skies for
portents of change on Earth. While China is passing through its
first millennium using the West's Gregorian calendar, the
traditional lunar calendar is ushering in the Year of the
Dragon, regarded as time of tumultuous change.
"All of that sort of millennial fear and trepidation fits in so
nicely with Chinese cosmology - and also the Hollywood
propaganda that everybody's been lapping up," said Geremie
Barme, a Chinese culture watcher at Australia National
In Pusalu, a patch of struggling corn and bean farms 30 miles
(48 kilometers) from Beijing, villagers believe cosmic forces
were at play on Dec. 11. As they tell it, an object the size of
a person shimmering with golden light moved slowly up into the
sky from the surrounding arid mountains.
"Some say it was caused by an earthquake. Some say it was a UFO.
Some say it was a ray of Buddha. I'm telling everyone to call it
an auspicious sign," said Chen Jianwen, village secretary for
the officially atheistic Communist Party.
What "it" was remains a topic of debate. Many villagers are
fervent Buddhists. But local leaders want to play down any
religious overtones, fearing that government censure may spoil
plans to attract tourism to Pusalu.
"It was so beautiful, sort of yellow," villager Wang Cunqiao
said. "It was like someone flying up to heaven."
State media ignored religious interpretations and labeled the
celestial events in Pusalu, Beijing, Shanghai and 10 other
Chinese cities in December as possible UFOs. But UFO researchers
have largely dismissed the sightings as airplane trails catching
the low sun.
"If the military didn't chase it, it's because they knew it
wasn't a UFO. They were probably testing a new aircraft," said
Chen Yanchun, a shipping company executive who helps manage the
China UFO Research Resource Center.
Operating from a dingy three-room flat in a Beijing apartment
block, the Resource Center keeps a version of China's X-Files:
140 dictionary-sized boxes of fading newspaper clippings and
eyewitness accounts of sightings. The collection has, among
others items, accounts that the military scrambled planes in
1998 in unsuccessful pursuit of a UFO.
Chen said the center had 500 reported UFO sightings in 1999, but
after investigation confirmed cases will likely number 200 or
He's currently checking on a worker's claims that aliens entered
his Beijing home in early December and, with his wife and child
present, spirited him 165 miles (265 kilometers) east and back
in a few hours.
"The increase in flying saucer incidents is natural," said Chen,
a former Aerospace Ministry researcher with a Ph.D. in
aerodynamics. He cited more manmade aerospace activity and radio
signals from Earth penetrating farther into space
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