- Considering the recent rash of UFO sightings over China,
it is worth noting the opinion of Sun Shili, a retired foreign ministry
official who is now president of the Beijing UFO Research Society - he
believes waixingren (extraterrestrials) are living among us.
- Sun's first close encounter occurred in 1971, when he
was sent to the remote countryside during the "cultural revolution"
(1966-76) to perform the grueling task of rice planting. One day while
toiling in the field, his attention was diverted to a bright object in
the sky, which rose and fell repeatedly. At first, Sun assumed the spectacle
was some sort of monitoring device - a reasonable deduction considering
the times - however years later, after reading foreign materials on UFO
sightings, he knew he had experienced a close encounter.
- Today, Sun does not rule out any possibility, including
aliens living and working in Chinese society - a position often difficult
- And Sun is not the only expert in the country taking
these sightings seriously. According to the highly-accredited Shen Shituan,
a real rocket scientist, president of Beijing Aerospace University and
honorary director of the China UFO Research Association, every report of
an alien encounter is worth investigating.
- Shen doesn't dismiss any story as too absurd, including
the claims of one worker that aliens entered his Beijing home while his
wife and child were present, and whisked him 265 kilometres east and back
in only a few hours.
- But what do these aliens want? Why visit China? Are they
interested in participating in the 2008 Olympics? Maybe they are interested
in setting up a venue should Shanghai host the 2010 World Expo? Or perhaps,
they harbour more sinister intentions. After all humans beings have been
known to eat the flesh of intelligent life forms - whale blubber and dog
meat. Need I say more?
- Cook books aside, one media pundit has pointed to the
interesting parallels between America's close encounters of the 1950s and
the spate of recent visitations to China. In the 1950s, with the US set
to dominate world affairs, observers from other worlds may have wanted
to learn more about the growing superpower. Following this logic, China's
extraordinary development could be attracting the attention of alien visitors.
They may be looking to open a nightclub on Shanghai's Maoming Lu or an
electronics factory in Guangdong. Perhaps, the Beijing worker was spirited
away to act as some sort of investment adviser. Such possibilities cannot
be ignored - foreign direct investment is growth capital no matter what
the country or planet of origin.
- Of course, all these speculations assume that aliens
do exist and are observing the earth and its species. Yet, there are still
those who reject this idea.
- Such skeptics need to reflect on the ubiquitous child's
ant farm. The minuscule creatures toil endlessly completely unaware that
they are being watched and that, with a simple tap on the glass by the
giant undetected observer, what would amount to half a life time's work
for an ant could be destroyed. So, why do we think ourselves so superior?
- And if these foreign visitors should show themselves
it would add a whole new meaning to the term yangguizi (foreign devil).
I guess as science fiction writers often predict, alien overlords would
give mankind a reason to abandon racial and cultural prejudices - we would
have someone new to hate.