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Last Updated: Monday, 10 October 2005, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
China space launch: Nick Xiao
This is something to celebrate. It is a sign of China's technological advancement over the last year.

MEET THE PANEL
Name: Nick Xiao
Age: 28
Lives: Beijing
Works: Banking professional

At the beginning of the 21st century, China is growing economically and commercially.

On the streets, this is being seen as a sign of China's rejuvenation and re-emergence onto the world stage.

But if you take a close look at society you will see stratification, massive polarisation, unemployment among minorities and the seeds of social unrest.

The government has needed something to unite people - such as the Olympics - which provides a sense of diversion from all the burning issues.

In Hong Kong people are enthusiastic about the space mission. With links to Britain severed, they need the image of a glorious motherland to give them a sense of community.

CHINA SPACE PANEL
But this is an expensive project.

Money could have been spent on education, social welfare and other more important areas. Why was it spent here?

It diverts people from social problems - it serves a political purpose.

I think the government fully intended this launch to be different things to different people.

I can talk from real experience. My family was pretty poor, it was only through strenuous efforts that I became an investment banker.

I have a business mentality but I also understand the challenges that face our country.




SEE ALSO
Chinese astronauts await mission
10 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
China set for second space shot
26 Sep 05 |  Science/Nature

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