Dreams of space rarely seen on domestic screens

By Wang Wenwen Source:Global Times Published: 2013-6-26 0:38:01

The Chinese dream may still be an abstract idea to many. But China's recent successful launch of the Shenzhou X spacecraft on June 11, a major step in space exploration, is "part of the dream to make China stronger," said Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday during a video call with the astronauts on the mission.

China's growth in space travel in the past decade has been prominent. In 2003, China became the third country to launch a manned space flight after sending the Shenzhou V spacecraft into orbit. It has also begun to develop its own space station and launched the Tiangong-1, a prototype module, in 2011.

A mature space program is undoubtedly an indication of national strength. In this sense, China has made it. But does China really have dreams of space?

Currently, China's passion to develop the space technology mainly lingers at the government level. Some even blame the government for political vanity and question whether the money couldn't be spent improving people's livelihoods.

Scientific value and creative visions of the future are largely absent from Chinese mass culture. Few domestic sci-fi films have been made. At the same time, sci-fi films produced by the US, the world's No.1 space power, have huge appeal to Chinese fans. In many Hollywood films, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) often appears on screen. NASA also provides scientific support behind the scenes.

In Oblivion, the 2013 American post-apocalyptic sci-fi film, retired NASA astronaut Rick Searfoss was called in as technical advisor and consulted on all the anti-gravity stunt moves.

A rich space culture has been deeply embedded in the US sci-fi films.

While convincing a Chinese audience to spend money on US productions rather than their creatively lackluster domestic products, it successfully delivers the long-advocated US role as "savior of the world."

During her mission in space, female astronaut Wang Yaping gave a science lesson to 60 million Chinese students and teachers from on board the orbiting Tiangong-1 last week. We hope the lesson can give the younger generation a spirit of the love of science, risk-taking, and exploration.

Posted in: Observer

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