Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Liu Yang: China sends a woman to the final frontier [Newsweek]

Source – Newsweek, July 2 and 9 double issue, page 8,, 2012

So it seems a wider international audience is getting a healthy dose of Liu Yang, China’s little master stroke to fan the flames of public imagination in the second largest news weekly from the US. A public relations chess move a few games ahead, perhaps? And on page 8 too, a number the Chinese value as prosperous. Titled Liu Yang: China sends a woman to the final frontier, the piece by Melinda Liu is one of few positive China stories that gets international attention nowadays.
This Newsweek report reveals that while China’s first taikonaut Yang Liwei’s 2003 flight was not broadcast live, more than 250 media outlets were at the remote Gobi desert to watch blastoff. The move to have a woman on board, it is reported was to also fulfill expectations of the public on top of the fundamental aim of advancing human spaceflight. If China’s aim was to be on equal footing as the US, then this may be one area where it has done better already.
For decades China was third behind the US and Russia in the rocket race. So, the Chinese have come a long way since the successful launch of the Dong Feng 1 东风 guided rocket launch in 1960. As the rise of China coincides with the power dilution of these two cold war icons, an opening seems ripe for China’s grand entrance; and one with tones of gender equivalence one, 52 years later at that at a time the US retires its shuttle fleet. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Aviation, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Education, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Liu Yang, Newsweek, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Science, Soft Power, space, Strategy, Technology, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Uncategorized, , , , ,

Profile: Liu Yang, China’s first female astronaut [Global Times]

China’s space program sees its Shenzhou 9 spacecraft complete China’s first manned space docking station with the Tiangong-1 space lab module. The new age for the politics of space have begun as more sovereign bits of shiny objects in our skies demarcate new lines of influence.

In a way, it could read as a master stroke move with China’s first female taiko naut taking away attention from the new battle lines for the days to come but I digress. It just fits the bill for a negotiated reading that Tao guang yang hui, gender equity and great public diplomacy come into play.

While the US programme has been accused of gender discrimination in the past (see story here by The New Scientist which attempts to debunk it), it seems on the surface at least that China did not take long to decide sending having a female taikonaut was a good idea. That said, China was able to learn from the lessons from the US which went through the women’s liberation in the 70s. If China got to space first, would it do what is doing now? I have no answers for that,mand perhaps such hypotheses is not important.

Indeed this isn’t to say that China made it easy for this symbolic act. For more, see Who will be China first female astronaut by China Digital Times and China’s rules for Lady astronauts by The Atlantic Wire.

– – –

Profile: Liu Yang, China’s first female astronaut
Xinhua
Source – Global Times, published June 15, 2012

An eloquent speaker and a lover of cooking, Liu Yang is well-poised to be the first Chinese woman in space.

When she watched the news on television of China’s first manned space mission in 2003, the pilot couldn’t help but wonder: What would the Earth look like from outer space?

Nine years later, Liu is getting the opportunity to find out herself as China’s first female astronaut, taking her place among three Chinese chosen to crew the Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, global times, Human Rights, Influence, International Relations, Liu Yang, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, space, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Technology, The Chinese Identity

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