04 May 2017
China’s Communist Party has decided that veterans of the country’s space programme have the right stuff for promotion to important political roles in key provinces. Giving new meaning to the term high-flier, four aerospace engineers have become provincial governors in the past four years.
Ma Xingrui, a former general manager of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC), became governor of Guangdong, the province with the biggest economy, last year. Xu Dazhe, a fellow with the International Academy of Astronautics, has governed the central province of Hunan from around the same time. Two years ago, Chen Qiufa, who oversaw the country’s space programme until 2013, was made governor of Liaoning and tasked with reviving the rust-belt province. Last week, former China Academy of Space Technology president Yuan Jiajun, who was also chief commander of China’s Shenzhou manned space programme, was appointed acting governor of Zhejiang, a hub of private business and the power base of President Xi Jinping.