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The latest craze of 'Hangmu Style' takes off online

By Bob Yang (Shanghai Daily)

08:38, November 28, 2012

No, not quite the real thing. Two tourist dress up as launch crew as they gesture on the deck of retired Russian aircraft carrying cruiser Kiev at Tianjin's Binhai Aircraft Park in this picture posted online. (Shanghai Daily)

Entranced by the gestures used to communicate with pilots on China's first aircraft carrier, people across the country have been imitating the signals employed on the Liaoning to tell pilots when it was safe to take-off.

In a video of the successful take-off and landing exercises on board the carrier at the weekend, two crew members are seen down on one knee and stabbing their right arms in the air to give the green light to the J-15 jet pilots.

Pictures of people imitating the gesture in various situations soon flooded the Internet.

Dubbed "Hangmu Style," or "Carrier Style," netizens across the country uploaded pictures showing their take on the gesture regarded as "cool, powerful and confident as well as amusing and comical," according to one microblog entry.

"Hangmu Style" has rapidly eclipsed the online craze for copying the "Gangnam Style" music video, with more than 8 million web users retweeting posts in just one day, ensuring the craze stayed top of the list of hot topics on

Shanghai residents made the gesture beside Metro trains. Stock exchange workers did it in front of share-price graphs. Students at Tongji University posed in front of a jet model on campus. There was even a picture of babies kneeling in line in a parody of the crew's actions.

A dairy producer in Zhejiang Province dressed in a cow costume did it to promote his products.

In north China's Tianjin Municipality, tourists at an aircraft carrier park wore overalls and safety helmets as they copied the gestures on the deck of the former Soviet aircraft carrying cruiser Kiev.

Even firefighters have been taking part, giving the green light to a fire engine leaving a station in Beijing.

"Although the gesture has often been seen in movies, I couldn't restrain my excitement the first time I saw it used in instructing a fighter jet to land and take off from China's first aircraft carrier," said Han Lu, editor of a car website.

"The gesture has actually been carefully designed," Li Jie, a researcher with the China Navy Military Academy said.

The crew members go down on one knee and incline their upper body to resist the strong blast from the jets.

Meanwhile, the arm gesture makes sure the pilots can clearly see the signal, Li said.

The basic requirements for the signals are that they shoul be "timely, accurate and standard," said Li Xiaoyong, deputy chief of the carrier's aviation section.

More than 30 different gestures with various meanings are used, because the noise of the jets makes verbal communication impossible.

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