With the launch last week of a manned space flight, China is now one of only three countries — along with the United States and Russia — to have sent a person into orbit.
In this article, The Economist says that the space flight was a great piece of public relations, as well as excellent domestic propaganda for the government. Furthermore, the Chinese have grand plans for the future, including follow-up piloted missions, the creation of a 'space station', and the construction of the country's own global positioning system.
Most Chinese seem pleased at their country's success, although some wonder whether the money could have been better spent. And already, questions are being asked about why a developing country such as China needs international aid when it is financing a US$2 billion human space programme.