When Darth Vader wanted to flush Luke Skywalker and his forces out of their rebel base on Hoth, he sent in gigantic AT-AT Walkers (all-terrain armoured transports, of course). Massive 20 metre tall metal attack dogs, they trampled anything in their path. The machines were devised by George Lucas for his Star Wars movie franchise. So imagine the surprise of Chinese readers when the state-owned newspaper Shanghai Translation News ran a picture of the AT-ATs on its front page last week, accompanying an article entitled ‘China’s super-jet fighters can repress foreign military in the South China Sea’.
The picture was captioned ‘Star Wars robots bring Chinese engineers inspiration’ and the text of the article added: “Chinese infantry robots can compete with American peers in siege and capture”.
Naturally, this soon caused a stir online as the front page got reposted and forwarded. Sina News explained why such an article had been published: “The purpose is just to express that Chinese fighters have caught up with Russian and American peers, and we even can make island-capturing robots to repress Japan, so that the sovereignty over the East China Sea belongs to the Chinese.”
Internet users treated the story with a healthy dose of scepticism, however. “Since the South China Sea is such a piece of cake, let’s capture Hawaii,” one lampooned. Another expressed even more grandiose ambitions. “China is not far now from conquering the galaxy!” he chortled.
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