In China, conspiracy theories have become increasingly popular as more people get access to the Internet. Tall tales have been woven together to explain everything from bird flu to the delayed launch of the iPhone 6. At the same time, China’s rise on the world stage has made it prime fodder for conspiracy theorists abroad.
#10 China Built A Washington, D.C. Mockup In The Gobi Desert
In 2011, Google Earth users noticed that China had been constructing a series of massive buildings in the Gobi Desert. These bizarre structures included a series of concentric circles with jets parked in the center, a tangle of white intersecting lines, and a grid 30 kilometers (18 mi) long. Burned-out vehicles, orange blocks the size of shipping containers, and structures resembling airports or nuclear plant cooling towers were also visible.
The structures are on the border of Gansu and Xinjiang provinces, geographically quite close to the center of the Chinese space program at Jiuqian and the Ding Xin military airbase, where top-secret aircraft are tested. It’s also only 650 kilometers (400 mi) from the Lop Nur salt lakes, where China performed nuclear tests between 1967 and 1995.
Some conspiracy theorists claimed that mysterious tangle of lines are a match for the street layout of Washington, D.C. and these structures are part of war games for a Chinese invasion of the United States. Others suggest the structures were weapons testing sites or messages to aliens. Experts have a more prosaic explanation: The weird grids are merely calibration targets for spy satellites and the structures are likely to be instruments for weather tracking and high-altitude atmospheric research.
#9 China’s Gold-Buying Spree
In recent years, China has shown a sudden, voracious appetite for gold. It passed India to become the largest importer of gold in 2013 and now mines almost twice the amount of gold as South Africa, which was long the largest producer. This huge explosion of gold mining and importing came while Western interest in gold was waning.
Conspiracy theorists claim that the Chinese are trying to amass vast stockpiles of bullion to launch a new global monetary system based on the renminbi rather than the dollar. This is closely tied with the notion that gold is the only sure guarantee for currency and the claim that the dollar is likely to collapse without this backing.
Currency experts dismiss the claims as distracting nonsense. Wikileaks released a cable from the US embassy in Beijing which quotes a Chinese journal saying the following: “Currently, the majority of its gold reserves have been located in the US and European countries. The US and Europe have always suppressed the rising price of gold. They intend to weaken gold’s function as an international reserve currency . . . China’s increased gold reserves will thus act as a model and lead other countries toward reserving more gold. Large gold reserves are also beneficial in promoting the internationalization of the RMB.”
#8 China’s Moon Landing
They cite the supposed impassibility of the Van Allen radiation belt. They’re also skeptical of a relative lack of footage released to the media, the black night sky on the Moon, the strange tilt of the horizon, and the lack of dust kicked up when the vehicle landed. These are claimed to be evidence that the Moon landing was in fact shot in a studio and not on the Moon itself. The theorists even claim the Chinese spacewalk in 2008 was fake, claiming that there are bubbles visible in the footage.
Others went with a different angle. When the Moon rover broke down from extreme cold after traveling only 18 meters (60 ft), some conspiracy theorists claimed the Jade Rabbit had been destroyed by a UFO to prevent the Chinese stumbling onto alien Moon bases.
#7 The Green And Red Societies
Tokyo-based Canadian journalist Benjamin Fulford claimed in 2008 that a secret Chinese group known as the Green and Red Societies are plotting to assassinate leaders of the Illuminati due to their racism and white supremacist values. Fulford claims that the group has over six million members, including 1.8 million gangsters and 100,000 professional assassins, and they are outraged over Illumaniti plans to reduce the human population by 90 percent, which they believe will be focused on the Asian population.
Fulford claims to have been approached by a member of the society, who told him of the Bush administration’s plans to create race-specific bioweapons. Fulford allegedly received a list of 10,000 individuals associated with the Illuminati and other conspiratorial organizations like the Bilderberg group, Skull and Bones, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
He claims the Green and Red Societies began as an underground group of former Ming soldiers organized to fight the Manchurian Qing dynasty that came to power in 1644. They were instrumental in overthrowing the last emperor and installing Sun Yat-sen as the first President of the Republic of China.
The absurd numbers involved in the Green and Red Societies and Fulford’s claims of personally negotiating with the Illuminati on their behalf have raised skepticism even among other conspiracy theorists. Still, he certainly talks tough: “So far, I have told the Illuminati that they are no longer allowed to murder Japanese politicians. I now plan to extend this protection to all politicians in the West. If the Illuminati assassinate or attempt to assassinate Ron Paul, Barack Obama, or any politician, may God have mercy on their souls.”
#6 Hong Kong Protesters Were US Stooges
This theory is particularly popular with the Chinese government, which claims that the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong last year were linked directly to US government attempts to destabilize China. Pro-Beijing newspaper Wen Wei Po claimed that Joshua Wong, a student leader, had met with US consular officials and even received training from the Marines. Theorists also claimed that opposition leader Benny Tai, a University of Hong Kong law professor, was being paid to rile up sedition by the US State Department through his membership in the Center for Comparative and Public Law, a pro–human rights NGO.
The theory goes that the US is heavily involved in stirring up popular discontent and protests against foreign governments, including staged violence in the 2010 Thailand protests, and that the CIA and other US government organs have similar plans for Hong Kong. The claims of US conspiracy gave the Chinese government justification for sly crackdowns on the protest movement, including paying triads to assault protesters and bringing in masked men from Guangdong to disrupt the protests with violent force. One protester complained of the mainland thugs: “Hong Kong people don’t spit on Hong Kong people. In Hong Kong, they spit on the roads.”
#5 China’s Alliance With Hostile Aliens
Conspiracy theorist Gordon Duff claims that in 2010, a Chinese nuclear submarine launched an ICBM skyward from a point just off the coast of Los Angeles. Duff claims this launch was part of a demonstration of new technology given to the Chinese military by a hostile alien force. China has been given invincible military technology by its alien allies to initiate a massive invasion of the United States.
He also claims China’s off-world allies have activated a sentient nano-substance inhabiting oceanic oil deposits, which is able to attack humans and cripple ships. The endgame is the creation of a genetic weapon designed to kill everyone who isn’t “Mongol,” a term used by Duff to describe people of Asian descent.
Another theorist, Michael Dargaville, has a more positive spin on things. He claims that the Earth is currently surrounded by a fleet of friendly aliens from the “Galactic Federation,” who have neutralized Russian and American nuclear arsenals to give China and India military control of the planet. He also claims the Galactic Federation wants to turn the city of Chengdu in Sichuan province into a provisional world capital, citing UFO sightings over Chongqing Airport as evidence that the Federation is trying to force China to reveal its knowledge of extraterrestrials.
#4 AirAsia QZ8501 Prediction
After the crash of Singapore-bound AirAsia QZ8501, Chinese netizens discovered that 13 days earlier, a user named Landlord had posted on the popular Tianya Club message board that a “black hand” (a sinister organization) had shot down the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and Flight MH17. The post continued by saying: “Now the black hand are targeting AirAsia to ruin this airline cause it too belong to Malaysia. Given how powerful the black hand are, I suggest that all Chinese thinking about traveling to avoid AirAsia, so that you don’t disappear like those on MH370 . . . You could be happily vacationing, working or studying abroad, but if you go on Malaysian airline or AirAsia, you’re dead. Be careful.”
Users on Reddit and the Chinese microblogging site Weibo quickly began debates to support or debunk the prediction. The identity of the poster is unknown, but some claim that he is the man involved with a noodle-throwing incident aboard an AirAsia flight that same month. A Chinese couple on a Thai AirAsia flight to Nanjing scalded a stewardess with hot water and threatened to blow up the plane. Internet conspiracy theorists now suspect the couple was actually planted by the Chinese intelligence or the military to stage an incident to save the plane from attack by the “black hand.”
#3 The Li Bloodline
Li (also spelled Lee) is one of the most common Chinese surnames, accounting for about 8 percent of Han Chinese. It’s also a common family name in Korea (as “Yi”) and Vietnam (as “Ly”). The name has a long history that is said to date back to the (fictional) founder of the family, Emperor Zhuanzu, and was considered a noble surname during the Tang dynasty. It is also, according to conspiracy theorist Fritz Springmeier, one of 13 Illuminati bloodlines said to control the world, including the Kennedys, DuPonts, Rothschilds, and Rockefellers.
This theory states that a secret society of Lis controls mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. This links important figures like Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, Chinese ex-Premier Li Peng, and Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew into a family conspiracy. This conspiracy is said to be hand-in-glove with American and European Illuminati interests and to be the secret controllers behind virtually all of the Triads operating in Hong Kong, the US, and around the world.
And who is the force behind the complex Li secret empire and its allied Illuminati bloodlines, according to Springmeier? Satan, obviously.
#2 Currency Wars
This 2007 book by pseudo-economist Song Hongbing claimed that the global monetary system is controlled by the Rothschild family, said to have a secret fortune of $5 trillion. The author delves into the Rothschild family history, claiming that the family was able to take over the Bank of England in the 19th century by falsely claiming the British had lost the Battle of Waterloo, causing a massive run of stocks. In the intervening 200 years, they’ve taken control of the US Reserve and other national banks to seize control of global finance.
This is not exactly shatteringly original stuff as far as conspiracy theories go, but the book became a surprise hit in China, seen in the hands of top businessmen and politicians alike. The popularity is based on the narrative that a shadowy group of Jewish bankers in the West was responsible for the global economic crisis and are seeking to keep China down.
One major difference from the usual anti-Semitism of such Rothschild fantasies is that Song claims not to hate the Jews at all. “The Chinese people think that the Jews are smart and rich,” he writes, “so we should learn from them.”
#1 Heilongjiang UFO Crash
Some have claimed a link between these UFOs and the launch failure of a Russian Proton-M rocket carrying a communications satellite, which happened at roughly the same time as the crash in Heilongjiang. Russian authorities claimed that the rocket and satellite completely burned up in the atmosphere, but Chinese experts quickly determined the materials found in Qiqihar were space debris. The strange sphere was likely a Composite Overwrap Pressure Vessel (COPV) used to store liquid fuel. These vessels are usually durable and composed of steel or titanium wrapped in kevlar.
The conspiracy theorists weren’t deterred, though, explaining that clearly the Russian rocket had failed because it had collided with a UFO.