Preparations had been taking place all morning: chairs set out for VIPs, tea served, and extra tight security around the airfield perimeter. A quick check revealed that in Chinese astrological terms today is good day for big things: signing contracts, moving house, commencing renovations, and launching super fighters.
Then, after lunch, there were reports of the twenty minute flight, a few low level passes above the crowd, a landing, and the pilot waving from the cockpit.
The photos and ecstatic postings convinced me: I'm a believer.
"Viva to my motherland!" was one Twitter post that struck me. "It is a glorious day for our country!" said another.
Glorious day possibly, but fascinating day certainly.
The manner in which this news first
appeared (grainy, amateur photos) and the timing (