It didn’t take the vast military might of the United States or Russia to conquer the Asian nation of China. Instead, a new craze called Carrier Style is sweeping across China as a reaction to the first successful launch and landing of a jet from an aircraft carrier by the Communist superpower. Culture watchers are wondering if Carrier Style is the Chinese answer to the Gangnam Style video that has almost one billion views on YouTube.
The unexpected landing of a jet on China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, caught political and military experts off guard, when it occurred years ahead of their predictions. Close-ups of the launch controller’s hand signals were first broadcast on China Central Television last weekend, and it was soon being reproduced by Chinese Internet users on the micro-blogging platform Sina Weibo and other major Chinese websites.
Once the news was out about the launch, Carrier Style also began to spread like wildfire in the streets of China. Young men and women were spotted at the sides of the road across the nation imitating the hands signals and a new cultural trend was born.
China has a population of 1.34 billion, and Carrier Style may very well surpass the incredible popularity of South Korean rocker, PSY, and his Gangnam Style video, at least within the borders of the planet’s most populous nation.
The country’s Internet is tightly controlled by the Communist Party, which maintains a virtually impenetrable blockade of the nation’s web access known as “The Great Firewall Of China.” Many foreign companies, including Google and Yahoo, are highly censored by the government and the ability of Chinese citizens to post on international websites is almost completely restricted.
Despite the censorship, Carrier Style fits within the goals of the ruling party and it has a broad appeal to Chinese pride. Many citizens of China are highly offended by the alleged rude behavior of some foreign visitors and the growth of European and American owned businesses in their nation. They see the carrier launch as an opportunity to make the rest of the world treat their country with respect.
“Although the gesture has often been seen in movies, I couldn’t restrain my excitement the first time I saw it used to instruct a fighter jet to land and take off from China’s first aircraft carrier.”
Meanwhile, Carrier Style continues to gain in popularity and we can only hope it will become a trend for the sharing of a cultural phenomenon, instead of a means to expand the already grave threat of war on our troubled planet.