Why would the West despise China’s landing on Mars? – fr

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Why would the West despise China’s landing on Mars? – fr


Editor’s Note: Anthony Moretti is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Organizational Leadership at Robert Morris University. The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of CGTN.
US and Chinese space agencies continue to collect important data on their respective and current explorations of Mars. Perseverance, which landed on Mars about three months ago, and Zhurong, who began his mission a few days ago, provide the world with remarkable images of the red planet and collect important samples that will be examined by scientists .

Indeed, these are exhilarating times for American and Chinese scientists. But, as you might expect, the Western narrative of China’s mission suggests that it shouldn’t be celebrated and is inferior to the American effort.

The most negative comment about China’s successful landing on Mars came from an American politician. Maine Senator Angus King lamented that “Zhurong’s landing reinforces the fact that we have no more space.”

In case anyone did not understand what he meant, the senator then said, “If they can land a rover on Mars, there are a lot of other things they can do that might not. not be so caring. Echoes of Washington’s strategic competition law, which is filled with all kinds of futile fears about China, were fully exposed in the senator’s harangue.

The senator’s ridiculous comments were a stark reminder that American politicians can agree on next to nothing except that China only presents problems for American interests. Without a doubt, Washington’s political class wants Americans to believe that on Earth, Mars, and possibly everywhere else in the solar system, China is determined to undermine American hegemony.

Western media and several non-journalistic organizations seem quite content to reproduce this baseless narrative.

NBC News, in its report on Zhurong’s successful landing, urged its audience to understand that China has “lofty ambitions for space exploration.” The Guardian account included a reminder that China had faced the wrath of the West a week earlier over a “violation of etiquette” related to the return of another space rocket to Earth.

The American Chemical Society announced that the American mission “aims to, for the first time, collect Martian samples which will one day be sent back to Earth.” Additionally, “NASA’s spacecraft will use new technology to choose a safe landing site. What about China’s mission? If the capsule was successful, then the mission would represent “China’s first successful landing on Mars.”
That was it; nothing about experiences during or the purpose of the mission was discussed. Later, readers were reminded that Perseverance would remain active for 669 days on Mars, while Zhurong would only operate for 90 days on Mars.

A few days ago, The Associated Press offered a positive account of Zhurong’s arrival on Mars, but it also couldn’t resist the addition of this reminder: “The United States has had nine successful landings on Mars since 1976. ”

The congratulatory message sent by a senior NASA administrator was buried even further in the AP report: “Thomas Zurbuchen tweeted his congratulations, saying: ‘With the global scientific community, I am waiting with look forward to the important contributions that this mission will make to the understanding of mankind. the red planet. ”

You won’t notice anything in Mr. Zurbuchen’s statement about competition, hegemony or fear. On the contrary, there is excitement about the expansion of “understanding of humanity” on Mars. This is what valuing a shared future looks like. It is also the crucial difference between viewing the US-China relationship as one of competition and friction over cooperation and friendship.

The US media is heavily focused on the latest war between Israel and Hamas, and this intense coverage explains why so few commentators have added to the litany of (false) accusations and (unnecessary) criticism of China’s “ambitions” for space exploration. One can imagine if the UK or Japan had landed a rover on Mars for the first time that heaps of praise and goodwill would fill the pages of Western newspapers and broadcast news programs.

But to praise China – for anything – in the United States is to welcome criticism from all kinds of places. As was often demonstrated during the Cold War, the (empty) accusations that the news organization (or the university professor, come to think of it) have become limp and fail to adhere to the theme “La China is the “boogieman” that dominates the political gossip will be thrown from the public and private spheres.

One final thought: Senator King, know that no country has space. It is there to be explored by all nations, and cooperation between these nations will benefit all of humanity.

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