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Chinese want 'Mao' to project power on high seas

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It’s funny how talk about a ship’s name can reveal unusual things about the people doing the talking.

In this case it is Chinese Internet users talking about China’s aircraft carrier. Or, rather, China’s putative aircraft carrier because it has not been built yet, nor have the authorities yet even acknowledged plans to build one.

But that has not stopped Internet portals here from doing a bit of wishful thinking, and inviting visitors to their sites to have their say. And a rather disturbing say it is, too, even if the polling samples are small.

Neutral names, such as Beijing or Shanghai, don’t appeal to people at all. More popular are the names of islands, such as Taiwan, Diaoyu, or Nansha.

This is awkward, though, because what they all have in common is that they are disputed territory. Taiwan is de facto independent, Diaoyu is known as Senkaku in Japan, and Nansha is better known as the Spratlys, a sprinkle of islands claimed not only by China, but also the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei.

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