Pragmatic romance

Xinhua's special red headline

By ALICE ZHAO

HONG KONG – September 29th would have been an ordinary day for the Chinese if China had not launched the Heavenly Palace.

However, it was just next to impossible to ignore the event. The launch is heard on radio, seen on TV, read on newspaper, bombarded on the internet. By this post is done, there are 521310 posts under the topic of the launch on Sina Weibo, a twitter-like service inChina.

Tiangong-1, which is scheduled to dock with the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft later this year, will pave the way for building China’s first space station.

Despite of its ambition in space development,  the Chinese named its vessels in a rather romantic and poetic way.

Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace, refers to the place in outer space where deities reside. It also echoes the previously-launched Shenzhou spacecraft and Chang’e moon orbiter. In Chinese, Shenzhou means magic vessel, and Chang’e is goddess who flew to the moon living with a white rabbit.

Unlike the romantic and patriotic sentiment on the official media, the Weibo users had some different views on the launch:

Bao Wenqi: The news has been focused on the Heavenly Palace all the time. However,  I do not feel proud at all on its successful launch. When the CCTV news highlighted the comment from the People’s Daily, I just realized I haven’t read the People’s Daily for a long time. The People’s Daily is not targeting the people. Where is our democracy? I doubt the fast-growing GDP.

This one seems to be concerned with  the impact on education in China:

Ezongf: The successful launch of the Heavenly Palace means students will have new exercise on physics, chemistry, mathematics, English and Chinese essay writing.

Elaine-Chen: The Heavenly Palace has nothing to do with me. I cannot have a raise in my salary for this. They always does this glamorous stuff. This means nothing but to add a sheen to China’s National Day celebrations.

There is also worry over the falling debris:

aug12: The debris falls in Yulin in Shaanxi Province forced  100,000 people  to evacuate. see the link

There is also a sarcastic tone referring the high-speed train clash in Wenzhou and the recent Shanghai subway collision:

Devil Outman:  The orbital docking of the magic vessel and Heavenly Palace 1 will definitely be accomplished, as china is a world leader on rear-end.

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One Response to Pragmatic romance

  1. Augis says:

    That is a nice and unexpected summary of the satellite launch. Makes me think that Chinese officials are rightfully intimidated by the power of internet.

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