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Downed Chinese fighter pilot immortalised on Web site

Wang's prang makes him a martyr

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Updated The dead Chinese pilot blamed for bringing down the American spy plane off China's coast, Wang Wei, has not only been officially made a martyr but also been immortalised on a memorial Web site.

The 32-year-old pilot went missing after his fighter plane hit the US spy plane and crashed into the sea. He was awarded the title 'Good Son of Huzhou People' by China's communist party yesterday, on top of his 'Guardian of Territorial Airspace and Waters', given by the military.

The memorial site was set up yesterday on China's "largest online memorial site", Netor.com. Since then it has had nearly 3500 visitors - set to explode following media coverage today. The sites offers online versions of the traditional Chinese funeral gifts of wine, flowers and song.

Meanwhile, the diplomatic and political nightmare that Wang Wei helped to create is continuing, with the US Congress thumping its chest, and media reports helpfully explaining that it was all the Chinese's fault. Spy flights are set to continue on Thursday and the fear is that the US military will be stupid enough to send an aircraft carrier to the region so fighters can fly alongside the spy plane.

This enlightened debate is continued on the memorial site's forum - not exactly what you'd want on a memorial site and a little disrespectful, let's be honest. An American diplomat tries to communicate with the whole of China with the gem: "You are ugly and stupid to think that someone wanted to hit you [sic] plane. Don't be so stupid, wake up..."

A Chinese counterpart cools the situation: "We're prepared to sacrifice our lives when our motherland is threatened. We're not Red Indians!"

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Wang Wei isn't given his own biography and his religion is left noticeably blank - always a tricky subject to broach in China. The site also claims his jet was rammed by the US spy plane. The US and UK media seem convinced that it was Wang Wei that accidentally clipped the plane's propeller with his tail. We'll never know the truth.

But that doesn't mean we can't make an off-colour joke about it:

A US spy plane is flying in international airspace (just) hoping to pick up information about China's nuclear testing facilities when two Chinese jets pull up alongside.

The pilots ask the plane to shift its course. The jet on the right pulls away and the US plane is urged to turn in that direction. The US pilot wrongly starts to move left. "No! Wang Wei! Wang Wei!" cries a voice just before the impact... ®

Update

While we still think it more than a little inappropriate to plaster insults and jokes over a dead soldier's memorial page, a number of readers have suggested people view Scarecrow's pictorial effort. It is pretty funny we have to admit - and hopefully won't offend anyone. The forum is here. You also get to read some bigoted views. Which is nice.

Related Links

Wang Wei's memorial site
Wang Wei's site in Chinese

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