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Military enthusiasts passionate about aircraft carrier design
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Netizens' enthusiasm for aircraft carriers

Recently, the aircraft carrier has become one of the hottest topics on Internet forums. About 80 percent of netizens say they would like to donate money to build the first Chinese aircraft carrier.

According to a survey conducted by Chinese portal Sina, 45 percent of respondents are in favour of naming the aircraft carriers after historical Chinese figures such as Mao Zedong and Zheng He; only 12 percent think they should be named after major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. And 30 percent of respondents think the names of aircraft carriers should reflect the growing national strength of China.

According to existing regulations on naming Chinese navy ships, cruisers should be called after provinces and administrative regions, destroyers and frigates after large or medium-sized cities, nuclear submarines as "Changzheng" followed by the vessel number, submarine pursuit craft after counties, landing ships (LSD) and tank-landing ships (LST) after mountains, infantry-landing craft (LCI) after rivers, and supply ships after lakes.

The right time to build an aircraft carrier

In April, 2009, PLA Navy Commander Admiral Wu Shengli told Xinhua that the Chinese Navy planned to modernise the technology of its equipment and develop new-generation weapons such as large surface-combat ships.

Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie pointed out on March 20, 2009 that China was now the world's only major power without an aircraft carrier and it would not remain so forever. His speech was interpreted by oversea media as China's first announcement of its carrier program.

The chief of Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) Co., Ltd said in an interview during the ceremony celebrating the 60th anniversary of Chinese Navy that the company was ready to build the first Chinese aircraft carrier with independent intellectual property rights, and hoped to do so. Moreover, Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co is also a capable candidate for aircraft carrier building.

"An aircraft carrier will cost a huge amount of money, but it is necessary and urgent that our country should have one," said Zhang Zhaozhong, a professor at the National Defense University. He thinks the carrier program will play an active role in driving recovery in the domestic and global economies. Thousands of manufacturers will have to cooperate to build an aircraft carrier, and even more midstream and downstream businesses as well as related infrastructure will be developed during the process, creating further employment opportunities.

"With a view to both marine security and economic factors, now is the right time for China to built its first aircraft carrier," said Song Xiaojun, a military expert. "Current low prices of raw materials at home and abroad will offer the prospect of economies in procurement."

(China.org.cn by Li Xiao, June 16, 2009)

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