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What response has China given to the balloon saga?

The latest in a succession of shifting stances the nation has taken on a story that has captivated the entire globe is China’s accusation that the US has flown balloons into its airspace.

Since the US initially charged China of launching a surveillance balloon over US soil, it has been almost two weeks.

From outrage to hysterical speculation, the occurrence has elicited a variety of reactions from the Chinese government and populace.

then after some silence, a confession

Chinese officials delayed responding immediately after the Pentagon first revealed the presence of the balloon on February 2; they finally spoke up the next evening.

They acknowledged in a statement that the object was theirs, but they also stated that it was a “civilian airship employed for research, mostly meteorological, reasons” that had been blown off course.

They described it as an accident and adopted a tone that was almost apologetic—unusual for Beijing—saying that they regretted the airship’s accidental incursion into US airspace as a result of “force majeure.”

State media, however, who had mostly waited to broadcast the news until the government’s admission, became more protective.

The faked balloon deception, according to China Daily, “cannot be related to China,” while the Global Times asked the US to “be more earnest in repairing relations with China instead of making provocative moves against it.”

Netizens jumped at the opportunity to make jokes about the situation, with many referring to the object as “The Wandering Balloon” in a nod to the well-known Chinese science-fiction book and movie The Wandering Earth.

Chinese authorities issued a longer, more forceful statement the following morning in response to reports that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had canceled a trip to China. Blinken reportedly cited “certain politicians and media in the US have blown it up to attack and malign China.”

The US shot the balloon down that same day, infuriating China.

Mao Ning, a spokesman for the foreign ministry, described it as “clearly an overreaction” and “inacceptable and reckless.”

“The US does not own the airship. China is the owner “When questioned about whether China had asked for the balloon’s remains to be returned, she responded.

The US embassy in Beijing received a formal complaint from officials.

Chinese nationalists criticized the US furiously online. A well-known pundit and former editor-in-chief of Global Times, Hu Xijin, said that the US “had to finish” the issue with a missile because Americans “aren’t able to treat an accident by finding truth from facts, instead they had to politicize it.”

In the meantime, a second balloon that the Chinese government acknowledged was theirs was seen drifting over Latin America.

Increased speculation

In the absence of information about the balloon’s civilian origins, there was hysterical conjecture over who exactly had launched it on the Chinese internet.

Numerous people seized on recent news reports that identified a local business, ChemChina Zhuzhou Rubber Research and Design Institute, as one of China’s major manufacturers of high-altitude balloons.

Some bloggers asserted the balloon was produced by ChemChina Zhuzhou, a division of a state-owned company. However, there is no proof that the business is connected to the airship.

On Sunday, a report in the newspaper The Paper about a purportedly flying object off the coast of the eastern Shandong province added to the confusion.

Fisheries officials allegedly warned nearby fishermen that Chinese authorities were getting ready to shoot down the UFO.

Some Chinese media outlets reprinted the report, but state media and government agencies said nothing. Despite this, it caused social media to go into overdrive, with some accounts even live streaming satellite photographs of the region.

However, other people online responded suspiciously and questioned whether the information was true, wondering why it had not been released through more official channels.

the narrative being turned

The Chinese authorities announced a fresh accusation on Monday: US balloons had violated their airspace at least ten times in the previous year.

Instead of defaming and condemning China, a foreign ministry official advised the US side to “start with a clean slate and engage in some self-reflection.”

The United States has refuted the charge.

US officials report seeing Chinese balloon sensors in the water.

State media, however, has started concentrating on a different story involving an Ohio derailed train carrying hazardous materials.

Chinese news outlets are suddenly giving the tragedy major prominence, despite the fact that it happened in early February, according to US media reports. To avoid pollution, US government personnel released dangerous chemicals under control from the train.

Since then, it has emerged as a major topic of discussion on social media. The main hashtag for the Ohio train has been viewed more than 690 million times since the weekend on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, and more than 40 hashtags have been made for the subject.

Many Chinese internet users have expressed displeasure and concern over the relative lack of coverage of the train event in US media compared to the balloon incident. Concerns include the possibility that the incident could spark a global environmental crisis.

According to a post that has received over 3,000 likes, “Turns out the Wandering Balloon was being utilized to take the heat for Ohio.”

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