September 21, 2014:
In a rare admission the Chinese military revealed in early September that two test J-15 jet fighter test pilots had died recently during landing and takeoff operations on China’s first aircraft carrier. Such testing and training deaths are considered military secrets in China. But with the spread of Internet and cell phone use keeping such things secret has become more difficult. In the past the families of the dead understood that they could be prosecuted for treason if they went public with details and since the state controlled the media that was that. No more. Even if the families remain silent, neighbors and friends of the deceased can spread and discuss the news and this apparently forces the government to announce the deaths. This is to prevent the growth of troublesome conspiracy, but also provide an opportunity to praise exceptional performance and bravery (sometimes when it was stupidity and incompetence that cause the death).