Chinese scientists are urgently calling for worldwide cooperation in research into unidentified flying objects (UFO), also known as flying saucers.
More than 50 scientists reached an agreement at an international conference in Beijing on August 21 that UFOs pose a big challenge to modern science and might have a significant bearing on human life. The gathering was convened to exhibit findings and exchange information about UFOs sighted in the Asia-Pacific region.
"It is imperative to carry out a global campaign, because UFOs are a worldwide concern and comprehensive research in the area entails help from different fields as well as the assistance of state-of-the-art technology," said Wang Changting, chairman of the Beijing-based China UFO Research Organization which hosted the symposium.
Wang said his group recorded some surprising UFO cases in China last July when the Shoemaker-Levy Comet collided with Jupiter. They are still under investigaion and may be the first reports of close encounters of the third kind from China. He declined to disclose any details about them.
More than 2,000 photos, video and audio tapes, books, magazines and documents concerning UFO sightings and research were on display at the four-day meeting, the first of its kind held in China and attended by researchers from China, Japan and China's Taiwan Province.
China has reported more than 5,000 sightings, or one-eighth of the total worldwide, putting the nation in top rank globally in terms of observations of UFOs and the number of people involved in their study, Wang said.
"We have successfully explained most of the unidentified aerial phenomena. They have turned out to be fragments of man-made satellites, meteorites, balloons, and lightning bolts," said Wang, a senior engineer, who claims to have spotted UFOs twice himself.
Convincing explanations are still lacking for some cases, he added.
The United Nations in 1978 passed a resolution urging its members to carry out research on UFOs.
Wang said that China's UFO research serves to help eliminate superstition and consolidate social stability by spreading scientific knowledge among the public, in addition to providing clues toward solving these global mysteries.