China Central Television released an animation which simulates space module Tiangong-1 entering its orbit – to the tune of "America the Beautiful." Watch CCTV's "patriotic" coverage.
BEIJING – Any attempt to compose a serious reflection Friday morning on the significance of China's successful launch of the Tiangong-1 module into space last night was dashed this morning when we started reviewing coverage of the launch.
As the Guardian first discovered – and we missed over the din of breathless Chinese coverage of the launch on CNN and the BBC – amidst the video distributed by state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) was a computer animation ostensibly created by the Chinese space agency showing the rocket soaring up into the heavens. Later, the Tiangong (which in English translates roughly to “Heavenly Palace”) module is shown linking up with the Shenzhou crew capsule – all accompanied to patriotic music...
But not quite patriotic in the way you’d expect.
The music selected to accompany China’s great national feat was none other than… “America the Beautiful.”
Was it meant as a musical overture to the U.S. for greater Sino-U.S. cooperation in space? A thumb in the eye of the West’s primacy in space? Or simply an embarrassing blunder by China’s propaganda department?
Whatever the answer, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen popular American culture unexpectedly showing up in Chinese news.
Just this past January, CCTV was found using video from the Tom Cruise classic, “Top Gun,” to spice up a news report on China’s military forces.
So those of you who are anxious that China may one day surpass the United States in the space race or are suspicious of the mainland’s space ambitions, take comfort in knowing that for at least one night, the Chinese people were united with Americans in crowning thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.