It's Battlestar China! Media passes off sci-fi pictures as aircraft carrier of the future
Japanese-language version of a state media site used images from Battlestar Galactica
When a Chinese news portal ran a piece about aircraft carriers of the future, its editors wanted to illustrate it with a selection of hi-tech images.
But they may have stepped slightly too far into the future, as the accompanying pictures that appeared on the site showed designs for spaceships featured in the US smash sci-fi show Battlestar Galactica.
The article, entitled '4 Major Trends In Aircraft Carrier Development', was published on the Japanese language version of the China Internet Information Centre, a web portal authorised by the Chinese government which features official news translated into a variety of languages, including Japanese, Korean and English.
The article focuses on developments in missile defence systems, stealth fighters, automated drones and electromagnetic catapults, all of which will play an important role in the construction of future aircraft carriers.
Japanese netizens were not as intrigued with the piece’s content as they were with the images accompanying it. Many commented that the article’s two pictures, labelled as concepts for “future aircraft carrier designs,” looked like something from science fiction.
“Are these graphics from a video game?” one netizen wrote, while others said that the pictures looked reminiscent of Macross, a Japanese animation which debuted in 1982 and featured futuristic robots and spaceships.
Eventually, savvy internet users deduced that one of the pictures was a schematic that had been used by the animation studio responsible for the visual effects in the American science fiction television programme Battlestar Galactica. The other image was a concept design for a “Lilypad" floating city, created by Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut, who has also created similar mock-up images for sustainable structures in Taipei and Shenzhen.
“These [designs] are pretty good dreams,” one Japanese blogger wrote after the origin of the images was revealed. “[The people who wrote this article] should start making comic books.”
While the article may have focused on "dreams", in reality, China has an impressive aircraft carrier of its own - the Liaoning, a former Russian vessel that was commissioned for use by the People's Liberation Army in September 2012.
This is not the first time that Chinese media has chosen dubious images to accompany military-themed articles. In March, both Xinhua and Global Times ran a story on a "secret" Japanese military helicopter. The images of the helicopter in question turned out to be digital art created by a Singapore animation studio employee.