China's space milestone marred by US patriotism

The patriotic US song was a confusing choice to mark an historic moment in Chinese history. Photo / AP
The patriotic US song was a confusing choice to mark an historic moment in Chinese history. Photo / AP

It was supposed to be a patriotic tribute to China's technological prowess. Instead, a video showing the launch of China's first space station module inadvertently glorified the country's biggest rival.

A video animation put together by state television to mark the highly publicised launch of Tiangong-1 - or Heavenly Palace - is set to the music of America the Beautiful, a patriotic song about the United States.

China sees its ambitious space program as a symbol of its global stature and internet users who recognised the tune were surprised at the choice of music for the space launch - a proud moment for the Asian nation.

"At the time, I was eating in a hotel with foreigners from an American company and Chinese clients and we were watching the live broadcast," posted one user on Sina's Weibo, China's answer to Twitter.

"All the Chinese there wanted to disappear," he said of the embarrassed response.

It was unclear whether the choice of song - which includes the line: America! America! God shed His grace on thee - was a mistake.

The video, which is more than a minute long, was accessible on broadcaster CCTV's English-language website, featuring only the music from the song and not the lyrics, but it has been removed.

CCTV employees reached by telephone passed AFP from department to department, without providing any comment.

It is not the first time CCTV has embarrassed its paymasters.

In January this year, internet users spotted that footage in a report on an air force training exercise in a national newscast was taken from the Hollywood blockbuster, Top Gun, about an elite American training academy.

The successful launch of Tiangong-1, which took off late on Thursday from the Gobi desert in China's northwest, marks the country's first step towards building its own space station.

- AAP

- NZ Herald

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