Watch this space as close encounters may occur
Updated: 2012-08-23 08:12
By Cui Jia and Wu Wencong (China Daily)
A youngster faces up to the possibility of extraterrestrial life at the Beijing exhibition. [Photo/China Daily]
Zhu Jin, curator of the Beijing Planetarium, also believes intelligent life probably does exist elsewhere in the universe, but says that most "sightings" of UFOs have nothing to do with aliens from another planet.
"Chinese people love to associate UFOs with alien spaceships. But all UFO sightings can be explained by natural phenomena, man-made objects, illusions or hoaxes. Aliens might not even need a spaceship to travel to earth."
In the most recent UFO sighting to grab the public's attention, Li Hui told the media of the UFO she saw at Fenghuang Mountain, a scenic spot in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province.
On the afternoon of July 8, Li, a local tourist, claimed she had seen a flying object faintly glowing on the opposite mountain when she finished posing for photos at one of the viewing platforms. She said the object had already disappeared when she took off her sunglasses for a clearer view, but its image had been caught on camera.
Most media showed a cropped version of the photo, which showed a glowing oval with two bright "wings". But the original photo, which was obtained by a reporter from Harbin Daily, shows that Li is the subject of the photo and the "glowing" object is on the left side of the photo.
On July 13, five days after the incident, Xi Wang, a doctoral candidate in bioscience at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, posted a photo of a hoverfly, which was clearly similar to Li's UFO.
Xi told China Daily that considering her major and personal interests, she is very familiar with the flying posture of the insect.
"It looks more like sensationalizing the scenic spot to me," said Xi. "I understand UFO fans' enthusiasm, and personally I also believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life in such a big universe, but we need to investigate and analyze every incident carefully before coming to a conclusion."
Other netizens also pointed out that judging from the size of the object in the photo, if it really was an alien spaceship more people would have noticed it as it would have been about 1 kilometer long.
But despite all the doubts, UFO researchers and enthusiasts rushed to Fenghuang Mountain, because this is not the first time the mountain has been linked with UFOs and extraterrestrial beings. It is known as China's Roswell because of the many UFO sightings that have been reported there.
Loving the alien
In June 1994, a local farmer claimed he had seen a shining white "metal monster" when he was out picking wild plants on the mountain. Meng Zhaoguo became famous throughout the country after he claimed he'd had sex with a female alien three times. Once at the landing site and twice at his house the same night. The alien then told him that she would have his child once she returned to her planet.
Meng, now 45, later told local governmental officials that about a month after his amorous adventures with the alien, he was invited to her spacecraft, where a male extraterrestrial spoke to him in his dialect.
"Sixty years from now, the son of a farmer from the Earth will be born on our planet," the alien told him.
Since then the mountain has been a popular destination for UFO enthusiasts.
"There is nothing wrong with using UFO sightings to attract tourists. It might even be a good thing because it might make people more interested in exploring the unknown," said Zhou Xiaoqiang of the Beijing UFO Research Organization.
But Wang Sichao, a scientist at the Purple Mountain Observatory in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, which is run by Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that people should not be so quick to dismiss all sightings of UFOs as illusions or publicity ploys. He believes that there have been more than a dozen genuine sightings of alien spacecraft in China.
He files unexplained UFO sightings into two categories: those that lack details, so that it is difficult to say what they really are, and those that are detailed, but they still can't be explained. These, he says, could be genuine sightings of alien spaceships.
"People should not underestimate the power of aliens. Although there is no evidence that they are harmful to people," he said.
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