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Top Guns: Chinese Military Looking for a Few Good Wingmen

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China’s media is a state-controlled behemoth that tends to keep one goal above all else: make China look good. They are incredibly good at it and are seemingly willing to lie about or distort nearly everything to fulfill that mission. Occasionally, though, the Chinese media machine slips up.

On January 23, CCTV, China’s state run broadcaster, ran footage of what was supposedly a live fire exercise with China’s air force. The end of the exercise featured the air force blowing up a plane that looked a little…well, suspicious would be the right word.

It wasn’t long before Chinese Internet users began to see why. Some Chinese Tom Cruise fan realized that the very familiar image bore a striking resemblance to that of the final fight scene in Top Gun.

This was picked up on very quickly by the Ministry of Tofu blog, which grabbed stills of both and posted them side by side. As soon as the comparison started to make the rounds on the Internet, all images and references to it were pulled from CCTV’s websites.

According to the blog: A net user who went by the name “刘毅” (Liu Yi) pointed out that the jet that the J-10 “hit” is an F-5, a US fighter jet. In Top Gun, what the leading actor Tom Cruise pilots an F-14 to bring down is exactly an F-5. Looking at the screenshots juxtaposition, one cannot fail to find that even flame, smoke and the way the splinters fly look the same.

If you’re wondering what it look like, check out this side by side comparison from the Wall Street Journal:

Pretty suspicious right? If you look closely you can tell that the aircraft are the same type and it looks like the debris pattern of the explosion is exactly the same. The plane would be less suspicious if it wasn’t an American-made F-5 that was being blown up.

It’s hardly the only thing the Chinese government has decided to pull this week. As Al Jazeera reports on the millions of protesters pouring into the streets of Egypt, Communist Chinese authorities have blocked any searches for the country’s name. Searches on social networking sites for “Egypt” or anything about the protests will turn up nothing.

Over the last week, the state-controlled media has posted very limited reports on the unrest and uprising in Egypt while downplaying the scope of the protests and public outcry. They reported that President Mubarak had appointed a new minister, but said very little about why and why it was significant.

It’s pretty amazing that China’s state-controlled media can exert massive control and censorship on news around the world, and yet, when it comes time to make its own country look good, it can’t do better then the special effects in an American movie from the ’80s.

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