Published: 12:10 PM 6/13/2013
ŠThe Daily Telegraph
As proof of extraterrestrial life, one Chinese farmer's crudely built rubber alien, stashed in a chest freezer in his garage, was rather unconvincing.
But the farmer, named in the Chinese media only as Mr Li, perhaps underestimated the nannying tendencies of the Chinese state.
Shortly after he proudly posted photographs of his alien on the internet he was arrested by the police for five days for "fabrications" that "disturbed the public order."
Li was forced to admit that he had indeed sought to use his model, held together with chicken wire and glue, to mislead his fellow Chinese about the existence of celestial creatures.
Initially, the farmer had posted his close encounter on a Chinese website, together with a shaggy dog story about how he had captured the alien while setting traps for rabbits.
"I was setting an electric trap for rabbits by the Yellow River when I saw a bright light," he said. "Above my bike, a UFO was floating. One by one, five aliens came down, but one of them stumbled into one of my rabbit traps and was electrocuted. The others went back into their ship and flew away."
However after his post went viral, the Chinese authorities moved quickly to limit the effect it might have on the extremely gullible. Not only was Li's initial post deleted, but the police soon arrived to arrest him.
"After the police interrogated me, I confessed I was a fan of UFOs and [the alien] was a fake. I just wanted other people to believe that aliens existed," he told the Shandong Evening News.