Shared moon dream

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

Be­fore set­ting out in the lan­der for the moon in 1969, the US Apollo 11 as­tro­nauts Neil Arm­strong and Buzz Aldrin were told to watch out for “a big rab­bit” from China, as ac­cord­ing to a tra­di­tional Chi­nese leg­end Yutu, the Jade Rab­bit, ac­com­pa­nies the god­dess who lives on the moon.

To­day the lu­nar bunny is once again at­tract­ing world­wide at­ten­tion, as China’s lu­nar rover is named af­ter Yutu, who sym­bol­izes mild­ness and good­will in Chi­nese tra­di­tional cul­ture, says an opin­ion piece in Peo­ple’s Daily.

From the Shen­zhou se­ries of space­craft to the lat­est Chang’e 3 mis­sion, named af­ter the moon god­dess, China con­tin­ues to make progress on its jour­ney into space. As space mis­sions are seen as rep­re­sent­ing the apex of a coun­try’s tech­nol­ogy, spec­u­la­tion and doubts about the pur­pose of China’s moon mis­sions will cer­tainly ap­pear, but they are never the dom­i­nant voices.

On the con­trary, main­stream me­dia out­lets in the West have gen­er­ally shown an ap­prais­ing at­ti­tude to­ward China’s space achieve­ments. An ar­ti­cle on the of­fi­cial web­site of UK-based Na­ture de­scribed China’s space pro­gram as “me­thod­i­cal and al­most flaw­less”, while the Span­ish news­pa­per El Pais com­pared China’s ef­fi­ciency with some other coun­tries’ un­cer­tainty in space ex­plo­ration due to the lack of sup­port.

A Euro­pean Space Agency of­fi­cial said some of its per­son­nel are work­ing hard to learn the Chi­nese lan­guage so they can strengthen co­op­er­a­tion with China.

It is the sin­cer­ity of China that has won this trust. China is will­ing to share the fruits of its progress in space tech­nol­ogy with any coun­try that will use it for peace­ful pur­poses. That’s real friend­ship in­stead of empty plat­i­tudes. Hav­ing opened its space sta­tion to many coun­tries for space ex­per­i­ments, China is show­ing that its space dream is an op­por­tu­nity for co­op­er­a­tion rather than threat.

In the Hol­ly­wood movie Grav­ity, China’s Tian­gong-1 space sta­tion is shown as the only hope for as­tro­nauts to re­turn to earth. That is more than just a cal­cu­lated com­mer­cial move to please Chi­nese au­di­ences — it em­bod­ies an in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar per­cep­tion that China’s space tech­nol­ogy is a ben­e­fit to all, rather than a threat.

China will con­tinue to re­al­ize its space dream, which is also the dream of peo­ple around the world.

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