China: November 29, 1999


China launched its Shenzhou (Divine Vessel) space capsule on 21 Nov for a flight that lasted 21 hours and made 14 orbits of the Earth. The capsule, designed to carry Chinese astronauts, was unmanned for this first test flight. Based on the Russian Soyuz capsule, the Chinese said they had added many items of technology they had developed for themselves. The US noted the technological achievement but said it did not represent any increase in military capabilities.--Stephen V Cole

There are reports of China developing a Passive Coherent Location (PCL) system. The theoretical possibility has been discussed for years. Such a system detects aircraft without active transmitters by analyzing the effect of turbulence on normal radio and television transmissions. This requires high quality receivers and powerful computers. It's entirely possible that the Chinese have gotten something like this to work. --Kirk Spencer

The government has arrested over 35,000 Falungong members in the past four months. Most were subsequently released, but those identified as leaders are often prosecuted. The Falungong movement shows no signs of disappearing and the government crackdown has given the group more publicity than it could have ever hoped to obtain otherwise.


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