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China Reform Monitor - No. 874

China tests first trans-atmospheric vehicle;
Beijing tests propaganda in U.S. media during Hu visit

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
January 27, 2011


January 5:
 

 Confucian followers are fighting against a government-sanctioned plan to build a 41-meter-high Gothic-style church with seating for 3000 worshippers in Qufu, Shandong – the birthplace of Confucius – arguing that it threatens Confucianism’s status in China. A petition calling for a halt to the project posted on the Confucian website Chinarujiao.net received 572 signatures and support from 77 Confucian groups. “If a super-large Confucian temple were built in Jerusalem, Mecca or the Vatican, pitting itself against existing religious buildings there, how would the local people feel about it?” said the petition, which has been widely circulated online. Reverend Mei Kangjun, executive associate secretary of the party-led National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches, called the petition to stop construction “cultural hegemony.” “Confucius is part of Chinese culture, and so is Christianity, even authorities have acknowledged we have more than 20 million Christians in China,” he said in comments
carried by the South China Morning Post. Qufu already has one dilapidated church built in the early 20th century.
 
 January 8:

 
 Following revelations about a test flight for China’s fifth generation stealth fighter, the J-20,
Shaanxi Provincial TV news has reported the successful test flight of China’s trans-atmospheric vehicle (TAV). TAVs, which can fly both in the atmosphere and enter space, could be used for intercontinental bombing and strategic reconnaissance. The television report showed the acting governor of Shaanxi, Zhao Zhengyong, inspecting a state-run aircraft corporation at Xian’s high-tech industrial development zone. Zhao reportedly said China has “succeeded in the test flight of a prototype aircraft that can fly through the atmospheric layer.” Shaanxi TV also showed images of the prototype space fighter being assembled whose outward appearance was almost identical to a U.S. pilotless upper-atmosphere military spaceship, the X-37B space fighter plane. The X-37B began its first test flight last April and, after staying in space for seven months, successfully returned at the beginning of December, MSNBC reports.
 
 January 12:

 
 
The Apple Daily (Ping Kuo Jih Pao) has published an editorial claiming corrupt officials in China contribute to the stable development of U.S.-China relations because so many of the senior cadres’ children and the corrupt officials themselves have emigrated to the U.S. The independent Hong Kong daily claims extensive business ties and investments in the U.S. make it highly unlikely Beijing would act to undermine U.S. economic interests.
 
 Vietnam’s $200 million Russian-made S300 PMU1 air defense system (PMU) is now operational.
The South China Morning Post reports that in an effort to deter China, Vietnam slipped a photo showing the PMU mounted on a truck along with Vietnamese soldiers, into Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defense’s 2011 calendar. Hanoi has at least two missile batteries, 12 launchers and more than 60 radar-guided missiles. Routine pictures of military personnel on parade and regional defense ministers accompany the other months while the PMU’s cutting-edge anti-aircraft missile batteries are featured on the August page. The PMU system, like the U.S. Patriot missile system, can simultaneously target multiple enemy aircraft and missiles at a range of heights and distances. Hanoi has also purchased state-of-the-art Russian planes, ships and submarines.
 
 January 13:

 
 Wang Zhongwei, vice-minister of the State Council's Information office,
told Ta Kung Pao
that China's first propaganda videos promoting the nation's image will air on U.S. mainstream media during Hu Jintao's upcoming visit to the U.S. later this month. The first phase of the national image promotion project targeting overseas audiences includes two videos. One focuses on “people with an emphasis on the characteristics and essence of Chinese nationals.” The other, which is still in post-production, will demonstrate China's national development over the past three decades.


Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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