China’s reaction when Apollo 13 had an emergency

Apollo 13” was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the Service Module (SM) upon which the Command Module (CM) depended.

On its way back before it entered the Earth’s atmosphere, the U.S. Government informed governments of other countries about the incident, asking them to help rescue American astronauts. Upon the request, the Soviet Union order the whole country to turn off any radio devices that could interfere the communications from the lunar module. At 18:07:41 UTC, April 17, 1970, it splashed down on Pacific Ocean. The crew were picked up by USS Iwo Jima 45 minutes later.

What did the Chinese government do? Here is one case from Li Xiaowen (李小文): On that night, he was a young worker at an army farm. They were ordered to patrolled the nearby mountains. If anyone captured American prisoners, beaten was prohibited, instrument and data were not allowed to be destroyed. Of course, they didn’t get anything. When they returned to their dormitory, they were totally lost for what had been going on.

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