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Titanic replica chance to prove made-in-China works

By Wang Wenwen Source:Global Times Published: 2013-2-17 23:23:01

Celine Dion's performance of My Heart Will Go On from the 1997 Hollywood blockbuster Titanic at CCTV's 2013 Spring Festival gala on February 9 shows that the touching love story set over a hundred years ago and people's longing for a voyage on the world's most luxurious ship still linger in their minds.

But when Ge Biao, president of Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard, which signed a contract with an Australian billionaire to build a Titanic replica, expressed on Saturday his confidence in meeting this challenge, many Chinese netizens, instead of expressing pride, cast doubt on a made-in-China luxury cruise replica. "The whole world knows the quality of made-in-China products." "Isn't it bound to hit an iceberg one more time?" some mocked.

The reactions were no surprise. A "made in China" label nowadays seemingly brings more embarrassment than pride. Frequent scandals involving shoddy products domestically and internationally have turned the term "made in China" into a synonym for cheap and low value-added products.

While foreigners are happy about the cheap prices of Chinese products, they don't appreciate how much the "made in China" label embodies Chinese brands, culture and even civilization.

The construction of the Titanic replica will be carried out as the term "made in China" comes under siege. The Australian billionaire Clive Palmer, who has shown a great deal of interest in the Titanic, has chosen China to help realize his dream. It is reasonable to believe that he did not make his choice in haste.

The original Titanic, which was equipped with cutting edge technology, was hailed as a ship that was unsinkable before its maiden voyage, a notion that later turned out to be tragically misplaced.

Joseph Conrad, a Polish-born English intellectual, wrote skeptically in his essay on the loss of the Titanic soon after the ship sank that it was people's "blind trust in material and appliances" that gave them such a terrible shock.

A successful "made-in-China" Titanic may have no effect in making up for the West's past failures in being over-dependent on technology and worshipping extravagance. But it is indeed a challenge for China to fulfill a flawless construction mission as the world watches.

It's worth hoping that when people talk about this made-in-China Titanic, they will believe that it is an ocean liner that will never sink.

Posted in: Observer