China's aircraft carriers

‘Mantis shrimp’ nickname for carrier ‘is just young people showing national pride’ says People’s Daily

Other suggested names in online poll for the Type 001A include the ‘Taiwan’ and the name of a fictional monkey king

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 May, 2017, 3:08pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 May, 2017, 3:08pm

A nickname comparing China’s latest naval accomplishment with a widely ridiculed sea creature is an example of young people showing national pride, according to state media.

China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier, know for now as the Type 001A, was launched last week to much fanfare – but it still doesn’t have a name.

“Mantis shrimp”, “Taiwan” and the name of a fictional monkey king topped an online poll last week as suggested names for the 50,000-tonne carrier, with the sea creature gaining over 1.37 million votes as of Thursday morning.

But at a press conference on April 27, defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujin said the aircraft carrier would not be named “mantis shrimp”, and would only formally be named once it was commissioned into service – most likely in 2020.

Mantis shrimp is a popular seafood in China that is widely ridiculed for its bizarre appearance. The sea creature has even turned up in a popular phrase, “Let’s go, mantis shrimp!”

The mantis shrimp buzz has even spawned a new meme, with the caption: “For the formal name, listen to the party. For the nickname, we’ll just call it mantis shrimp!”

Despite the seemingly unflattering connection, the official People’s Daily cast the nickname in a positive light.

“Buzzwords like “mantis shrimp” are the younger generation’s new approach to interact online and show their passion for national affairs,” People’s Daily said in an editorial on Thursday.

“The official reply for this passion from the Chinese Ministry of National Defence has also bridged the gap between serious military affairs and internet buzz.”

The defence ministry came under attack last week from Chinese netizens for a propaganda poster promoting the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s 68th birthday which featured a number of Photoshop bungles.

Yang apologised last Thursday for the mistakes, which included depicting a Russian fighter jet and American amphibious assault ships on the poster instead of Chinese weapons.

But the spokesman said the image and the critical comments would not be removed from the ministry’s social media accounts as they served as a warning to staff to be more accurate.