China's Rocket Launches to the Tune of "America the Beautiful"

Photo: AFP/Getty

It's been a tough week for China's government. First, you had a terrible subway crash in Shanghai that injured more than 280 people. Then you had Shanghai officials flip-flopping over the official explanation of the crash. The government's one hope was that Thursday evening's launch of the rocket Tiangong-1, nicknamed 'Heavenly Palace' would restore public confidence that China was well on its way to matching the U.S. dominance of space.

The lift-off, carried by state broadcaster CCTV, was perfect. But then CCTV showed an animation of Tiangong's route through space. The soundtrack? America the Beautiful.

Why did a state broadcaster use America's unofficial national anthem for such a patriotic event? Nobody seems to know. Here's the link to the CCTV page which carried the video. If the state broadcaster takes the video down by the time you read this, check out the BBC, which managed to capture their own video.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent, based in Shanghai.


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