China publishes, then deletes, report saying it may have picked up signals from an alien civilization

Chinese researchers say they’ve picked up the trace of signals that could be from an alien civilization, according to the now-deleted report published by the country’s science ministry.

The narrow-band electromagnetic signals were detected by the world’s largest radio telescope, FAST, also known as “Sky Eye,” located in the southwestern Guizhou province. With a dish diameter of 1,600 ft (approx. 487m), one of Sky Eye’s primary objectives is to “participate in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.”

On Tuesday, the state-run media outlet Science and Technology Daily reported that the researchers under professor Zhang Tongjie, described as chief scientist of the China Extraterrestrial Civilization Research Group at Beijing Normal University, reported “several cases of possible technological traces and extraterrestrial civilizations from outside the earth.”

It’s unclear why the report was removed from Science and Technology Daily, the official media outlet of China’s science and technology ministry. According to Bloomberg, the news had already started trending on the country’s most popular social network, Weibo, and was even picked up by other state-run media outlets.

Science and Technology Daily reported that Zhang and his team detected two sets of “suspicious” signals in 2020 while still processing data from the following year, and found another in 2022 from observation data of exoplanet targets.

Because China’s Sky Eye is extremely sensitive in the low-frequency radio band, “the possibility that the suspicious signal is some kind of radio interference is also very high, and it needs to be further confirmed and ruled out,” Zhang is reported to have said.

“This may be a long process,” he added.

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