Female Chinese astronauts must be married and preferably be mothers, the newspaper said, citing concerns that radiation would “harm their fertility”.
Liu, from the poor and populous central province of Henan, has been praised in state media for her nerves of steel after safely landing her fighter jet after a bird strike that left the cockpit glass covered with blood.
China’s latest space mission has attracted even more than the usual national attention thanks to Liu’s presence.
Her selection to the mission team rapidly became the top subject on the country’s Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo, with 33 million posts.
“Liu Yang, on the eve of becoming our first woman is space, is the pride of Henan,” wrote one user.
But others wondered if the money poured into space ambitions would be better used on Earth, where China is still a developing country and grappling with more mundane issues like food safety and a growing rich-poor divide.
“What use does Shenzhou 9 have? Will it help the people to not starve?” another user wrote.