Monday, October 22, 2012

Extraterrestrial Contact: Are the Chinese Better Prepared?

It’s easy to see conspiracy around every corner when it comes to the Chinese government. Censorship does that. If you take action to control what your people see and hear, it’s easy for the rest of us to assume things. I think the issue of extraterrestrial First Contact falls into this category of assumption. For a while now, I have noticed that my blog has very few readers in China. It is a dramatic difference. Out of thousands of readers over the years, from dozens of countries, China has only had one or two instances of readership, according to Google analytics. It would be easy for me to jump to a conclusion. Perhaps the Chinese don’t want their people reading about alien First Contact issues? The answer is actually quite simple and quite frankly much worse. As you might know, the Chinese have blocked Google Blogger content for three years now. Blogger is just one of many websites blocked by the Chinese government. Most people realize that the Chinese government routinely blocks the Chinese people from viewing certain types of Internet content; however I had no idea how widespread that censorship has become.
So, with all of that secrecy and censorship it would be easy to jump to other conclusions. Does the Chinese government have a detailed plan for extraterrestrial First Contact response? Russian Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka recently spoke on Chinese television to say that the UN and the Chinese government have “detailed instructions” about how to handle alien contact.
All of the articles I can find in regards to that interview pretty much stop at that little tidbit. What I find suspect about the statement is the UN side of things. We would have no idea what the Chinese government has decided, unless they wished to share such things. The UN, however, faces much more scrutiny and operates in a way that allows people open access its decisions. Every article I can find shows that the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space has tabled or failed to take action on every request for extraterrestrial First Contact protocol development. A number of scientists and scientific bodies have brought it to the Committee on a number of occasions. Perhaps the UN does have such secret directives, but why then would Dr. Mazlan Othman, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, risk reputation and career, as she did two years ago, to bring the issue up for discussion? Perhaps it is a decision kept secret, but something tells me that the lack of imagination on the part of the United Nations makes lack of interest and lack of decision much more likely.
So, back to the Chinese, do they have such a First Contact protocol? And perhaps the Russians, for that matter? Cosmonauts would seem to be in a position to know. However, there may exaggerating cosmonauts in the same way we have exaggerators in all walks of life. Or we may just be taking his short statement far too seriously. Perhaps the protocol is simply: “If you run into aliens while in space, be friendly and call in for further instructions.”
We do know the Chinese are taking astrophysics and astronomy much more seriously. For the first time a Chinese scientist is leading the International Astronomical Union bio-astronomy Commission 51. Sun Kwok stresses that the search for extraterrestrial life means trying to find signs of life on other planets and moons. The Mars Curiosity mission is that amazing science in action each and every day. It’s no wonder the Chinese want to participate. The discoveries in astronomy, just in the last few years, have been astounding. Let’s just make sure that the closed Chinese society doesn’t cause us to misinterpret their actions.
Join me in a discussion of First Contact issues on the Alien First Contact Facebook page.

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