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China declares itself America’s geekiest space fanboy

China declares itself America’s geekiest space fanboy

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This is a 60 second reduction of the original article here.

In a sharp reversal of its usual anti-American foreign policy,┬áChina sent its first rocket up in space to the tune of “America the Beautiful”. The video clip of the launch, produced by the state-owned CCTV can be found here.

The Tiangong 1, was officially translated into “Heavenly Palace” but was actually a play on words. “Tiangong” had originally been chosen for its reference to Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, and literally translates into Sky Boss.

China sees its ambitious space programme as a symbol of its global stature and wishes to copy – as it has with everything else – American space technology, which it still regards as first-rate.

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 response.

It was unclear whether the choice of song — which includes the line “America! America! God shed His grace on thee” — was a mistake. Other users have quipped that references to “space cowboy”, due to its massively cooler factor, would have been more appropriate.

“Whoever chose that music was clearly out of date with current trends”, another weibo user tweeted. “I mean, who the hell sings America the Beautiful these days. We’re all obsessed with Justin Bieber.”

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 1986 Hollywood blockbuster “Top Gun”, about an elite American training academy. The choice of movie was heavily criticised as it starred Tom Cruise, who at that time was under persecution for his scientological beliefs and his alien-like weirdass behaviour on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

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