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Li Changchun visits leading space scientist
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Senior official Li Changchun on Thursday visited China's leading space scientist Qian Xuesen in a hospital, just hours ahead of the launch of the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft.

At Qian's bedside in the People's Liberation Army General Hospital, Li conveyed greetings from President Hu Jintao.

Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, called Qian an "important founder" of China's space industry and a "role model of Chinese patriotic intellectual."

China's space industry would witness another historic moment when the Shenzhou-7 spaceship took off, said Li, adding that he profoundly respected the scientist, who had made great contributions to the country's space industry.

The official also vowed to build the Qian Xuesen Library into a patriotic education base so as to pass on the scientist's patriotism to the coming generations.

Located at the Xi'an Jiaotong University in northwest Shaanxi Province, the Qian Xuesen Library contains works and donations of the scientist.

Qian expressed his heartfelt thanks to the leader and said he would do his utmost to contribute to the country and the people inhis lifetime.

Qian, born in Hangzhou, capital of eastern Zhejiang Province, was a major figure in the missile and space programs of China. He is commonly known as the "Father of Chinese Missiles."

China successfully launched its third manned spacecraft Shenzhou-7 on Thursday night with three astronauts on board. The crew will attempt the country's first space walk.

(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2008)

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