Asia-Pacific

'America the Beautiful' accompanies China rocket launch

China's state TV accompanied coverage of the historic launch of the country's first space laboratory with a patriotic US song, America the Beautiful.

The song is regarded by many as an unofficial national anthem for the US, and features the line: "America! America! God shed his grace on thee."

Some Chinese people say that CCTV must have made a mistake with the music. The broadcaster has not commented.

Millions watched the take-off of Tiangong-1 on Thursday.

Viewers of CCTV were treated to a minute-long animation set to the American song.

The video features only the music from the song and not the lyrics.

"At the time, I was eating in a hotel with foreigners from an American company and Chinese clients and we were watching the live broadcast," posted one user on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter.

"All the Chinese there wanted to disappear."

The song was composed by a New York church organist in 1882, and has long been a favourite of US patriots.

It has been proposed as a replacement for The Star-Spangled Banner as the US national anthem.

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