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China Showcases Space Program: are you in or out???

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kai_25

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JIUQUAN, China (AP) -- China, a rising space power, provided a rare look into its top-secret launch center Wednesday, promoting the military-funded project as a lure for foreign investment and a key to the nation's growing prosperity.<br /><br />A police car with flashing lights led busloads of international journalists across northwestern China's vast Gobi Desert to the Jiuquan space center, past armored patrol vehicles and a sign, in English: "Foreigners are not allowed to enter without permission."<br /><br />It was the first time China let foreign journalists enter, although officials forbade photographs of the command-and-control center with its rows of computer screens or the mammoth assembly hall where workers built the spacecraft that lifted China's first astronaut into orbit last October.<br /><br />For the secrecy-conscious national government, Jiuquan houses treasures to be guarded closely. But to local officials, Jiuquan is a blue-ribbon brand name just waiting to be marketed far and wide.<br /><br />"No matter what products are named after Jiuquan, they will sell," said Hao Yuan, assistant to the governor of Gansu province, where part of the space center is located.<br /><br />"We welcome foreign cooperation in the fields of aerospace and aviation," Hao said. "We would also like to provide launch services to foreign companies."<br /><br />Like most local officials, Hao has never visited the Jiuquan space center. But it was officials in Gansu who lobbied Beijing to open it up. "Otherwise, few reporters would come here," he said.<br /><br />China stands to reap big benefits from good publicity about its space program -- both in the economic potential it represents and the national prestige it encourages at home and abroad.<br /><br />Located on a sprawling 1,900 square miles, the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center is an island of technological achievement in one of the country's poorest regions. Farm incomes in nearby villages average just $470 a year, as peasants struggle
 
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john_316

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<br />Actually I feel China is a threat in several areas but in order for them to be a serious threat they would have to excercise the use of their military muscle.<br /><br />When that happens then I can expect a US-China confrontation...<br />
 
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