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China UFO spotted again. Why skepticism is warranted.

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(Read caption) China UFO sightings continued Thursday in the eastern part of the country.

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Yet another China UFO was spotted and it has lit up imaginations across the Internet. Thursday's sighting did not shut down an airport as last week's unidentified flying object did when it zoomed over eastern China. And many news outlets are reporting it as straight news.

The Shanghai Daily reports that “four lantern-like objects forming a diamond shape” hovered over Chongqing municipality in eastern China for about an hour on July 15.

"I stared at it and it did not move," a witness said of the objects. "After hovering for an hour, the thing started to fly higher and finally out of people's sight."

Thursday's sighting occurred one week after an unidentified flying object was spotted about 8 p.m. above Xiaoshan Airport in Hangzhou City, also in eastern China. The airport shut down operations for some two hours, grounding all departures and rerouting arrivals to other airports.

"No conclusion has yet been drawn," Wang Jian, head of air traffic control with the Zhejiang branch of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), was quoted by state-run Xinhua news agency as saying.

Pictures show a circular object akin to the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars.

Time to ask questions

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But before anyone gets too excited, the blog Forgetomori takes the time to ask questions and deconstruct purported photos of the sightings as simple cases of overexposure:

"All of these other photos, with the exception of a single one, are also simply long-exposure photos of aircrafts, but in this case, helicopters. Not only that, they have nothing to do with China and were published on the web long ago."

The China Daily reports a military link to the UFO sighting.

ABC News reports, meanwhile, that five researchers from the Beijing UFO Research Society and the Shanghai UFO Investigative Research Center traveled to Hangzhou on July 14 to investigate the airport sighting.

"We have several places to visit on our agenda, including the Xiaoshan Airport and the CAAC East China Regional Administration," the director of the Shanghai UFO Investigative Research Center, Lou Jinhong, told ABC News. "I cannot offer an opinion on this case, because we have not yet collected all the relevant documents and data. It's not clear how long the investigation will take."

Coincidentally, in 2006, a UFO was sighted over Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Unlike the Chinese authorities, the US Federal Aviation Administration declined to conduct an investigation into that incident and airport workers were ordered to refrain from speaking with the media.

According to The Chicago Tribune:

A flying saucerlike object hovered low over O'Hare International Airport for several minutes before bolting through thick clouds with such intense energy that it left an eerie hole in overcast skies, said some United Airlines employees who observed the phenomenon. Was it an alien spaceship? A weather balloon lost in the airspace over the world's second-busiest airport? A top-secret military craft? Or simply a reflection from lights that played a trick on the eyes?

… "To fly 7 million light years to O'Hare and then have to turn around and go home because your gate was occupied is simply unacceptable," said O'Hare controller and union official Craig Burzych.

Renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking suggested in April that it’s likely aliens exist, given the vastness of the universe, and they’re probably hostile.

“We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach,” he said. “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the native Americans.”

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and former presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan all claimed to have seen UFOs.

The China UFO story remained out of the American media for more than a week, which may be the most remarkable part of the latest UFO sighting, says one commenter:

The brilliant part of this entire story is that the China UFO sighting occurred on July 7 and did not really break into mainstream media here in the United States until July 14. Imagine the discipline and creativity to keep such a thing off the radar for an entire week. Kudos still to the Chinese for not letting the situation get too far out of control, as imaginations can sometimes get the better of any of us.

This Chinese-language report shows clips of an unidentified flying object shooting over the airport, and interviews passengers at the airport. Of course, seeing is not always believing.

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