LettersChina and the West in a ‘space race’? Not so fast
- Western media coverage of China’s recent space missions seems to be building a narrative of competition, instead of celebrating them as achievements for all of humanity
Considering the previous Mars missions by other space agencies, there has been a slight change of discourse on the part of the Western media when it comes to the Zhu Rong mission. Although there were optimistic and even congratulatory messages all over Western and global media, there was also a hint of criticism that is mostly absent when it comes to coverage of Nasa’s Mars landing missions.
For example, the BBC initiated its coverage by affirming Zhu Rong’s landing as a “remarkable achievement” by China. It called it a challenge that the country overcame, “given the great competence it has shown in its space endeavours of late”.
However, amid the praise, the BBC also included a quote on how the successful Mars landing further “reinforces the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party to its own people”. There was also a brief mention of the “military implications” of such a space mission.
China releases first images of Mars taken by Zhu Rong rover
As China continues its space exploration, we should expect the Western media to trumpet more of that narrative. China’s space exploration and achievements should be viewed as an achievement for humanity, and relations between space agencies across the world should be about cooperation and not competition.
Roberto Santos, Belas, Portugal