China and Outer Space

Authored by: Rosita Dellios

The Ashgate Research Companion to Chinese Foreign Policy

Print publication date:  July  2012
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409422709
eBook ISBN: 9781315612812
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043904


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The People’s Republic of China (PRC) ranks with the USA and Russia in operating independent human spaceflight. It was the first to acquire this capability in the twenty-first century, and without the trappings of the Cold War that characterized the two superpowers’ space achievements in the previous century. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) put a human in space in 2003 in an era marked by China’s rapid economic development. It was the same year that China launched its “peaceful rise” slogan to reassure the world that a stronger China did not harbor hegemonic ambitions. Indeed, the very word “rise” was replaced with “development” to leave no doubts about the nonthreatening nature of China’s growing strength.

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