Is China hunting for UFOs? Beijing mum amid reports about army task force

"We have been getting calls about this," said a person who answered the phone at the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C. 

Updated: June 8, 2021 - 1:05pm

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In the lead-up to a much anticipated UFO report being delivered this month to Congress, a journalistic space race is underway to uncover whether China, too, has been hunting the truth about extraterrestrials.

"We have been getting calls about this," said a person who answered the phone at the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C. The official did not answer, though, whether Beijing maintains a UFO task force.

The interest stems from recent articles in the foreign press saying that China has been inundated with UFO reports, and that the People's Liberation Army is tracking them via artificial intelligence. The articles are apparently based on a 2019 report from scientist Chen Li, who has been described as a researcher for China's Air Force Early Warning Academy.

In the report, Chen wrote about "unidentified air conditions," the Chinese term for what the Pentagon describes as "unidentified aerial phenomena."

"The frequent occurrence of unidentified air conditions in recent years ... brings severe challenges to air defence security of our country," wrote Chen, who noted that the PLA uses artificial intelligence because it can "think outside the box."

The summary of Chen's report was first published in the South China Morning Post, then was picked up by outlets in the United Kingdom, Russia, and elsewhere — prompting a flurry of press calls to China's embassy in Washington. 

"I have no information on this," the embassy official said before disconnecting a phone call with Just the News. 

Many of the UFO reports inside China are — like those in the United States — traced to natural occurrences, or to weather balloons or drones, according to sources cited by the South China Morning Post. Some airborne objects appear on radar or are picked up by sensors, but otherwise are unremarkable. The mystery sightings are "more likely caused by humans than aliens," according to a Chinese scientist the outlet cited. 

Adventurers in 1938 claimed to have found evidence that an alien spaceship crashed thousands of years earlier in the remote mountains of western China. As with the years-later speculation that aliens in 1947 crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, the alleged China crash has spawned myth, counter-myth, and intrigue. 

Like their American counterparts, Chinese officials have not announced that they found evidence of alien spacecraft from any era.

Two Chinese military jets in 1998 reportedly intercepted a low-flying "short-legged mushroom" that fled toward outer space and then vanished. A Chinese airport in 2010 shut down for several hours after a UFO supposedly was spotted overhead.  

Beijing has not announced whether PLA officials will produce their own version of the forthcoming Pentagon report to Congress.

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