With a plan to launch the first manned spaceship in the early 21st century China's spaceflight department has selected four special personnel for the space-training program, hoping that they'll become China's first generation of astronauts.
In an interview with reporters, Luan Enjie, administrator of China National Space Administration said that after the successful launching of "Shenzhou", the unmanned spaceship, China has started its preparation for the manned one. Through strict tests in every aspect, we have selected four special personnel from the air force, and they are for the moment undergoing an intensive training.
China has so far been armed with such fundamental "hardware" as reliable rockets, spaceship and retrievable cabin and will be able to realize the ideal of launching a manned spaceship after times of testing launching again of the unmanned spaceship. And we are full of confidence that the four astronauts who are for the moment being trained will be able to fulfill their task because they stand out better in education and physique than the American and Russian astronauts who've been to the space, said Luan Enjie.
(People's Daily 11/09/2000)