Chinese State Media ‘Welcomes Home’ Tiangong-1 Satellite After Crashing, Denies It Went out of Control
China’s Tiangong-1 space station crashed to the Earth in the South Pacific Ocean on Monday morning. While many were concerned about where the out-of-control satellite would land, the Chinese Communist regime said prior to Monday’s crash that the 8.5-ton Tiangong-1 is unlikely to cause any damage when landing. Instead, state media said that the satellite re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere would be a “gorgeous and magnificent” show.
Tiangong-1, which means Heavenly Palace in Chinese, was launched in September 2011. It landed at about 8:15 a.m. Beijing time (8:15 p.m. ET Sunday), according to the China Manned Space Engineering Office.
The Chinese regime informed the United Nations in May 2017 that Tiangong-1 had “stopped functioning” back in March 2016, but did not provide an explanation for why.
China’s aerospace technology is still not advanced enough when compared to other countries, according to Luo Yu, former head of the aviation equipment division of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff Department. He is also the son of the late general Luo Ruiqing.
“It [Tiangong-1] has lost control for so many years. Since it has been out of control, there’s no way to tell its deceleration speed and landing,” he said in an interview with New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD) on April 2. The broadcaster is The Epoch Times’ sister media.
To its own citizens, the Chinese regime is still unwilling to admit that Tiangong-1 was “out of control,” even after its crashing. The Chinese Communist Party’s state-run media used poetic words to sugarcoat the space station’s failure. China Manned Space Engineering Office announced on March 28 that Tiangong- 1 “will be transformed into a gorgeous entity and pass through the beautiful starry sky.” The state mouthpiece newspaper People’s Daily reported the story with the headline, “Welcome Home.” The state-run news agency Xinhua described the satellite as “having accomplished its historic mission.”
Many netizens challenged the state media’s statements. Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper quoted netizens’ comments: “[The Chinese regime] has hid the fact since 2016,” said username tttKevin18 on Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter. “Is this the demeanor of a so-called strong power?”
“Didn’t it boast to replace the International Space Station?” said Kennedy2016. Another compared the state media’s hyperbole to the Chinese idiom: “holding a funeral like you’re having a wedding.”
Two years ago, when the Chinese regime first announced Tiangong-1’s malfunction, the state-run newspaper Global Times did not mention anything about Tiangong-1’s being out of control to the Chinese people, Chen Pokong, a U.S.-based political commentator, told NTD in an interview. Instead, it ran this subtitle in a news report: “[China] as a nation is realizing several nations’ space station plans.”
Chen added that in recent days, with the news of Tiangong-1’s impending crash, many Russian aerospace experts spoke out about how China had learned all of its aerospace technology from Russia, especially during the time of Mikhail Gorbachev in the former Soviet Union and during Boris Yeltsin’s time after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
“These Russian aerospace experts revealed that they taught those Chinese experts personally. They taught them the designs for the controls, what equipment they needed, how to control the data, and how to return the satellites back to Earth. So China has totally learned its aerospace technology from the Soviet Union and Russia,” Chen said.
Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported on March 31 that Chinese officials and experts said the 8.5-ton Tiangong-1 is unlikely to cause any damage after crashing. However, the U.S.-based nonprofit organization Aerospace Corporation pointed out that if the satellite is not burned completely while it goes through the atmosphere, there is a chance of highly toxic and corrosive chemicals emitting from the wreckage.