Beginning in December, 1999, UFO sightings began to decline in the United States and the western world in general, while sighting reports exploded in China. The western press, in general responded with a much milder sneer than it normally reserves for UFO issues. Perhaps this was because the official Chinese position is far less distorted than the stance that has been taken by western governments, and the press was not willing to laugh in the face of Chinese scientists regarded with respect in their own country.

Aviation engineer Zhou Xiaoqiang, the secretary general of the Chinese UFO Research Organization commented, ?this is the most significant number of sightings reported in China since UFOs became a permitted area of study in 1978.?

China?s UFO magazine, The Journal of UFO Research has a circulation of 400,000 and offers a wealth of scientifically grounded studies into the phenomenon. Chinese researchers have the resources they need to effectively gather data at a scientifically useful level of recovery quality, and when there was a wave of UFO sightings over Beijing on December 11, they moved at once to set up video surveillance in the Changping suburb that appeared to be the focus of the activity.

Because China is open to acquiring information about this phenomenon, it is Chinese science that will reap whatever reward of knowledge that it offers, no matter what it is that generates UFO sightings.

It has been noted that interest brings more sightings, in part simply because publicity causes more people to look to the skies, and in part, it would seems possible, because there may be some sort of response from the phenomenon.

The clearest evidence of this comes from Mexico, where, beginning in 1996, media star Jaime Maussan began running UFO video on his popular news program, 60 Minutes. Soon, he was receiving hundreds of videos, and the vast majority of them have proven to be genuinely anomalous.

It is possible that there will be a similar effect in China, as the country?s scientific community gears up to respond to UFO sightings and claims of alien abduction in a manner calculated to generate some real answers, rather than remaining aloof and ignorant as do western scientists.

What knowledge the phenomenon has to offer mankind, it would seem, is going to be gained first by China. As this knowledge could be of breathtaking importance to mankind, it may be that it will shift the focus of human progress eastward for a very long time to come.

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