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Jiuquan Space Center closed to tourists
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According to Legal Mirror, the Jiuquan Tourism Administration has asked travel agencies to stop offering trips to watch the launch of Shenzhou VII spacecraft, citing concerns about security and confidentiality.

The Dongfeng Space Center told Jiuquan Tourism Administration earlier this month not to offer trips to watch the launch, said Mr Wu, a departmental manager at the administration.

"Many tourists have called to ask about trips to watch the launch of Shenzhou VII, but we have cancelled the service," Miss Huang, an employee of Xihan travel agency, told Legal Mirror.

"In the past we were able to take tour groups into the launch center and even watch spacecraft launches. This was certainly the case for Shenzhou V and VI, but Shenzhou VII seems to be different," she said.

Despite the visitor ban, some travel agencies are continuing to drum up business by claiming that they can get access to the launch.

But Mr Wu warned tourists to be skeptical of agency claims, adding that the possibility of a tour group being allowed to enter the launch site was "very low".

"If it can be shown that agencies have made misleading claims to tourists, the tourism administration will force them to pay compensation," Wu said.

China carried out successful manned space missions in 2003 and 2005. The third manned mission, planned to include China’s first spacewalk, will begin at 9 PM. on September 25, when the Shenzhou VII spacecraft lifts off from the Jiuquan Launch Center in northwestern Gansu Province.

(China.org.cn by Xiang Bin, September 19, 2008)

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