Watch this space as close encounters may occur

Updated: 2012-08-23 08:12

By Cui Jia and Wu Wencong (China Daily)

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Rumors of UFO sightings and aliens visiting this planet seem to be increasing, report Cui Jia and Wu Wencong in Beijing.

Watch this space as close encounters may occur

A model of an alien attracts visitors at a recent exhibition featuring space science in Beijing. An increasing number of UFO sightings have been reported in China since 2011. [Photo/China Daily]

After 17 years of hard work, Xiang Kuansong has finally completed the "alien research station" he has been building in his village in Mayang county, Hunan province. The 79-year-old said he was told to build it by two beings from another planet.

"Don't be afraid. We are not ghosts or god. We are people from another planet who want to help you," the aliens allegedly told Xiang in Chinese.

Xiang's research station has none of the radio dishes and high-tech equipment that are usually associated with the search for extraterrestrial life. In fact, it looks more like a traditional Chinese temple, with a sign at the entrance that reads: "The harmonious way to a foreign planet".

The retired soldier said he first met the two aliens from the planet of "Dongsheng" in the late 1980s. They are about 1.95 meters tall and visit him quite often, wearing clothes that make them invisible but he can see them and communicate with them. The two "Dongshengians" asked him to build the station so they could have a place to rest during their trips to other planets, and so far he has spent 200,000 yuan ($31,470) on their way station.

Inside there is a concrete model of a saucerlike spaceship, and stone tablets marking the spots where Xiang says the aliens talked to him are scattered around the compound.

Although the other villagers believe Xiang is crazy, he just smiles and ignores their taunts.

UFO detectives

But even some of those who believe that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe pour scorn on those who claim to have been visited by aliens.

"I always turn my back on people who claim that they have seen aliens. Most of them have mental health problems," said Zhou Xiaoqiang, secretary-general of the Beijing UFO Research Organization, which was founded in 1983 and now has more than 100 members.

"If aliens visited earth, it doesn't make sense they would not make themselves known to all of us. These stories of meeting aliens are just unbelievable,' he said.

An increasing number of UFO sighting have been reported in China since 2011, but according to Zhou, such sightings are fueled by the media.

"People read about mysterious things or see television reports about such things and it fires their imagination," he said.

"The media have been reporting supposed UFO sightings for the past three or four years and they always mystify the incidents to grab people's attention. Meanwhile, people have become more interested in unsolved phonomena - I think it has something to do with the 2012 end of the world theory," said Zhou, who has been studying UFO sightings for more than 20 years.

Also, some people still try to manipulate others by claiming they are in contact with aliens, he said. "In the old days, such people would say that they could see and talk to ghosts. Nowadays, its aliens."

Zhou said the mission of his team is to simply identify what it is people have seen when there has been a UFO sighting.

"We investigate the circumstances and analyze the evidence. We are more like detectives," he said.

The Beijing UFO Research Organization has received 14 detailed reports of UFO sightings in Beijing so far this year. All of them have been identified as kites with lights, aircraft or insects.

According to Zhou, the majority of UFO sightings are reported during public holidays in big cities or scenic spots.

Watch this space as close encounters may occur

Photographer Wu Chunyan snapped this unidentified flying object in Fenghuang Mountain near Harbin, Heilongjiang province in early July. Provided to China Daily

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