The People’s Liberation Army Navy commissioned its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, on September 25 and has now launched a destroyer, the Type 052D Luyang III-class. Despite insisting that the Liaoning will help China “enhance its role as a defender of regional stability and world peace,” as Rear Admiral Yang Yi said last month, ordinary people in China and the region are both wary. Global Times Chief Editor Hu Xijin wrote a paean to the Liaoning on Weibo:
HuXijin: Congratulations on the commissioning of China’s first aircraft carrier. This is a great day in the history of the Chinese navy. China is experience the beginning of something which has significance for the entire human race. We must keep up our mindset and our aspirations in step with these changes. The aircraft carrier may well turn the course of Chinese history away from war, not the reverse.
The vessel raises obvious concerns about China’s claims to disputed territories in the East and South China seas. Besides the recent protests over Japan’s purchase of some of the Diaoyu Islands, China and the Philippines wrangled over the Scarborough Shoal earlier this year. But the aircraft carrier symbolizes something else to Chinese netizens, who focus instead on the lack of aircraft on this refurbished Ukrainian ship. From CDT Chinese:
Qinsir1978: The entire human race? What the hell! I nearly thought our aircraft carrier landed on the moon.
JingZhi: Are we seriously making this big of a deal about a second-hand ship?
PyongyangPropaganda: There are so many stealth aircraft on the carrier. Stealth technology is awesome—it absolutely has significance for the “entire human race.”
Edwards-2012: It should be named the Liaoning Panjin.
PreciousSwordSharpenout-Sharpenin: Don’t use it against the people, please.
ChangJiangPo: Waste of money!
asdone: The Party’s army has one more sharp tool for stability maintenance. We just don’t know when we can get our Diaoyu Islands back.
DaiJianyeWeibo: The fall of the former Soviet Union was not because the country didn’t have an aircraft carrier, but because its people didn’t have freedom; the prosperity of the United States today is not because of advancement in military technology, but because of its democratic social system.
SimiOnWalk: Three years after the former Soviet Union built and sailed this aircraft carrier, the glorious nation fell on its ass. China…
Simi行走在路上： 前苏联建了这艘航母 下水三年 伟大的苏维埃共和国就嗝屁了。中国……
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