Chinese military aircraft used civilian plane as cover in Taiwan Strait
By Zoey Sky // Oct 17, 2023

Members of a military enthusiast group in Taiwan were alarmed after they recently spotted an airborne Chinese military aircraft that allegedly "hid" itself beneath a civilian airliner flying west of the center line of the Taiwan Strait.

On Sept. 24, the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), a military enthusiast group, posted on social media that it detected a Chinese Y-9 military communications command aircraft flying from south to north on the M503 route, west of the center line of the Taiwan Strait, for a short period.

Taiwan ADIZ saw the Chinese military aircraft at 8:30 a.m.

The group was worried because it noticed that the Chinese aircraft’s flight path overlapped with the position of Cathay Pacific Airways CX366, a civilian plane that was flying from Hong Kong to Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

According to the group's Facebook post, the incident could be "an attempt to confuse Taiwan's detection by using a civilian airplane to mask military aircraft."

The post also suggested that the incident could be an example of a tactic for military aircraft to hide underneath civilian aircraft.

In response to the Chinese aircraft's overlapping with a civilian plane, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense announced on Sept. 30 that the national army could accurately monitor the activities of the Chinese aircraft. (Related: Intelligence report: China likely providing military aid to Russia.)

The Taiwanese top military body did not comment on Taiwan ADIZ's speculation over whether this is a new Chinese tactic to exploit civilian planes.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has long claimed sovereignty over Taiwan. The party has also not ruled out the use of force to take control of Taiwan, a self-governing island.

Zhang Yanting, former Lieutenant General of the Taiwan Air Force, explained the effects of such an overlap of aircraft in the war. Zhang said the position of the two airplanes is vertical, with the civilian plane on top and the military aircraft on the bottom. They were at the same latitude and longitude on radar.

According to Zhang, when viewed on radar, "it is the same point of light, and the two airplanes look like one airplane." He added that such overlap might also help camouflage several military aircraft under civilian planes, not just one.

Expert says sighting is a Chinese military "test"

Although Chinese military planes frequently flew across Taiwan for different reasons, hiding beneath civilian planes was rarely observed because military aircraft are not allowed to fly civil aviation routes due to international practice, explained Zhang.

Zhang thinks this could be a "military test" that Beijing intentionally developed to find out how Taiwan would react. He added that such a military test could be developed. He also warned that the CCP could later use fighter jets or multiple fighter jets simultaneously. He warned that the CCP could utilize as many as 50 or 100 planes to do the test to stage "a sort of ‘Trojan horse."

This isn't the first time that the military has taken advantage of civil or fake civil aviation to deceive the enemy. For example, the Israeli Air Force has successfully conducted similar military operations twice.

The first was Operation Babylon in 1981, where a sudden airstrike by Israel aimed to destroy a nuclear reactor near the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. The Israeli military sent eight F-16s with 2,000 pounds of bombs each, with six F-15s acting as shields.

Those six F-15s pretended to be civilian aircraft flying in dense formations, which looked like the light spots of civilian aircraft from the radar.

The second was the Entebbe Raid in 1976 when the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) hijacked an Air France flight and landed it at Entebbe Airport in Uganda.

The terrorists set the non-Jewish passengers free, but they took more than 100 Jews as hostages. Israel sent in commandos to kill all the terrorists in a surprise attack on a 4,000-kilometer-long flight concealed as a civilian aircraft.

Zhang added that the two Israeli military operations were disguised as civilian aircraft and did not use real civilian aircraft as a shelter.

Is the Chinese military plane using the "human shield" tactic?

The speculated Chinese military plane was hiding underneath a real civilian aircraft.

According to Zhang, the situation could be similar to the CCP hijacking the plane and using it as a "human shield" for its military aircraft. He estimated that thousands of civilian flights pass through the airspace around Taiwan daily because it is located in an important international air corridor.

Another thing worth considering is the fact that the Chinese military planes did not conceal themselves under U.S., Japanese or South Korean flights, but under Cathay Pacific civilian flights.

Zhang said this was "selective and intentional" since Cathay Pacific is a Hong Kong-based company. He also suggested that the company could be vulnerable to manipulation by Beijing.

Throughout the CCP's history, the regime has made it clear that it did not care about the lives and deaths of the populace. To illustrate, during the civil war between the CCP and the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) in 1948, communist forces attacked the city of Changchun for five months.

To drain the city's food reserves, communists did not allow anyone to leave the city. An estimated 150,000 people starved to death. Eventually, the Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan.

Visit for more stories about China's military.

Watch the video below to learn more about China's growing influence in the United States.

This video is from the NewsClips channel on

More related stories:

China simulates precision strikes on key Taiwanese targets during three-day military drills.

Is communist China planning to attack the United States?

U.S. warns China about plans to increase military drills in South China Sea region.

Sources include:

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