The ‘why’ behind China’s own private space race – James Oberg

From USATODAY.com:

The safe return of the second human space mission by Chinese astronauts Monday leaves no doubt that Beijing is committed to this expensive and risky activity. Considering the economic and technological strain it places on China, the natural question to ask is: Why?

Despite Western theorizing about space challenges ” a new moon race or even a military conquest of the heavens ” the most plausible rationale for the Shenzhou program appears to be what Chinese leaders have always stated. They expect that it will be good for China, the Chinese people and for the ruling regime.

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