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UFOs Behind the Great Wall: A report on the state of UFOlogy in China

J. Antonio Huneeus, FATE Magazine, Volume 50, No. 9 September 1997

original source |  fair use notice

Summary: Ufology, formerly a forbidden subject in this country of more than one billion people, has only recently emerged from Chairman Mao's shadow. Modern research shows, however, that UFOs are not a new phenomenon in China.

J. Antonio Huneeus

author's bio

China had its first massive UFO sighting on the night of July 24, 1981. It caused such an uproar that the Astronomical Observatory of Zijingshan released a communique stating, "the population of 14 provinces in our country sighted this celestial phenomenon."

Ufology, formerly a forbidden subject in this country of more than one billion people, has only recently emerged from Chairman Mao's shadow. Modern research shows, however, that UFOs are not a new phenomenon in China.

Historical records cite strange celestial objects during the Tang, Yuan, and Ming dynasties. A few examples were published in 1982 in the Chinese government publication Beijing Information, in the article "UFOs Were Already Observed in Ancient China," by Guo Li. It discussed several cases that occurred during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).

When the modern UFO era began 50 years ago in 1947, flying saucers were reported in China. However, they were quickly forgotten when the country was engulfed in a civil war. All mention of UFOs was strictly forbidden during Mao's long reign, when China was mostly closed to foreign influences.

Chinese ufology re-emerged in the late 1970s during Deng Xioping's program of economic reforms. In November 1978, The People's Daily finally gave the official green light for UFO reporting. Other reporters began to cover UFO news, and by 1980, a group of students from Wuhan University in Hebei province formed the China UFO Research Organization (CURO) and obtained moderate support from the National Academy of Social Sciences. A newsstand magazine, The Journal of UFO Research, was launched in February 1981.

Over the years I have collected a reasonably good file on Chinese ufology and met a couple of researchers from Taiwan. A letter of mine was even published in Chinese in 1982 in The Journal of UFO Research. I didn't come face to face with a prominent Chinese UFO researcher, however, until this year. In February, I returned to New York after lecturing at a huge UFO Exhibit in South Korea, just in time to attend a private meeting of international ufologists hosted by Sandra Wright. The star was Professor Sun Shi Li from Beijing, one of the presidents of CURO. It was an excellent opportunity for me to catch up with Chinese ufology from a direct source. Fortunately, Shi Li speaks fluent Spanish, having served as a Chinese diplomat in Mexico City.

Shi Li became interested in UFOs when he translated the book Priests or Astronauts?, a thorough examination of the Paleocontact hypothesis by the late Spanish writer Andreas Faber-Kaiser.

"It's a valuable book because it gathers the most essential ideas of over 300 books by ufologists, " said Shi Li. "It was very useful for me and, after translating it, I received an invitation from the Beijing Astronomical Association to give a talk on UFOs. At the time [1980] few people knew about [UFOs in China] and around 100 people came to hear my speech, which had a great impact."

Cha Leping and other students from the University of Wuhan were then in the process of forming CURO. "Cha Leping invited me first [to act as a] general advisor and then in 1986 he asked me to become president of CURO," said Shi Li. "I still am but now only regarding foreign activities." In time, CURO grew to 4,000 active members and a total affiliated membership of 40,000, making it the world's largest UFO organization.

Flying Train

Shi Li related some UFO cases from 1994 and 1995 which have never been published in the West. The most dramatic occurred at 3:30 a.m. on November 30, 1994, at a tree farm in southern China. Guards described "two spotlights in the air, a very brilliant ball of light changing colors from yellow to green and red, which passed above very noisily like a locomotive." This "flying train" cut trees one to two yards above the ground in a swath three kilometers long and 150 to 300 yards wide.

I asked whether it could have been a freak storm or typhoon, but Shi Li said this hypothesis had been discounted by both the government authorities and CURO in their investigations. The damage, he explained, had been selective. While the trees were cut inside the swath, telephone and telecommunications lines were not cut.

"A worker was even thrown into the air several meters away, but he was not hurt," said Shi Li. "There were no casualties with people or animals, but the force of the phenomenon was very strong. Nearby there is a train wagon factory and the roof of some of the wagons was thrown away; some wagons were even moved dozens of meters and steel pillars were cut. The guard at the factory saw something very noisy passing [through the air] like a train with lights."

When a similar case hit another tree farm in Guizhou a few weeks later, provincial authorities were alarmed. "This event had a very large impact on a national level," said Shi Li, but "they [the government] didn't reach a final conclusion, they say it's pending, that it seems to be unexplained." As for CURO, many investigators and scientists were sent to Guizhou and "all of us Chinese uflogists reached the conclusion that it was an extraterrestrial spacecraft, a UFO. When it half-landed, it attempted to land but hit all the trees and cut them."

Shi Li explained another incident in the same province on February 9, 1995, involving a Chinese airliner: "On the radar screen they detected an oval object, which later changed to a round shape, about two miles from a commercial airliner. The pilot didn't see a thing, but the control tower told him a UFO was flying parallel to them. At that moment, the anti-collision automatic system on the Boeing 737 turned on and the Control Tower gave instructions to the plane to climb over the cloud layer to avoid a collision."

When I asked Shi Li if China was registering abduction cases, he said CURO lacked financial resources to conduct quick onsite investigations.

Hit by a Beam

One case that did come to Shi Li's attention was that of Mong Zhao Guo, a peasant abducted near the city of Harbin in northeast China in June 1994.

Zhao Guo worked on a tree farm near Harbin. He and two other peasants saw a strange object on Mount Phoenix and decided to investigate. As they climbed the mountain they saw it was a strange, round white object with a tail like a scorpion. Then, continued Shi Li, "he couldn't get closer because it was emitting a very strong noise that produced unbearable pain. So they changed direction to approach the object again but with no success... On the following day he guided a group of co-workers to the site and, when he was about one kilometer away, he looked with binoculars and saw next to the device an extraterrestrial with a raised arm emitting a beam which burned his forehead; I have here a photo showing it. Then he fainted, falling to the ground."

The story becomes even more strange: When Zhao Guo was taken by train to the hospital, he claimed that he saw a scary-looking female alien that nobody else in the train could see. He even claimed to have sexual intercourse with her, which CURO investigators have a hard time believing. That same night, Zhao Guo took a photo outside his house and an unexplained white bar appeared in one corner when the film was developed.

Shi Li gave me a 40-page report on the case, which was published in Chinese in CURO's journal, Exploration of Mysteries from the Cosmos and the Earth.

Finally, Zhao Guo was invited to talk during an International Space Research Congress held in Beijing in October 1996. The president of China made the opening speech, and officials from the Chinese space program, NASA, the UN Outer Space Committee, and the European Space Agency were present. The congress devoted many sessions to aeronautics and space exploration, including one on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

Shi Li said that that Zhao Guo's presence at the conference was not an endorsement of his views. On the contrary, he was grilled with questions and the scientists were skeptical. Yet the fact he was invited to speak is incredible. Having attended space symposia sponsored by NASA and other groups in the United States, I couldn't imagine an abductee addressing such a meeting. American SETI scientists like Dr. Frank Drake and the late Carl Sagan were adamantly opposed to UFOs, but apparently space researchers are more open-minded in China.


J. Antonio Huneeus reports on ufology and Fortean subjects for numerous publications as well as radio and television programs in the United States, Japan, Spain, and Brazil. He is International Coordinator for the Mutual UFO Network.

From UFO Chronicle
by J. Antonio Huneeus
FATE Magazine, Volume 50, No. 9 September 1997
Reprinted by permission

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