The Global Times, a tabloid published by the same company that puts out the official Communist Party newspaper the People’s Daily, echoed some criticism among the public about the expense of China’s space programme.
“Currently, China’s passion to develop space technology mainly lingers at the government level. Some even blame the government for political vanity and question whether the money couldn’t be spent improving people’s livelihoods,” the paper said in an editorial, published before the landing.
The mission went “perfectly”, Wang Zhaoyao, director of China’s manned space programme, said at a news conference in Beijing.
China is still far from catching up with the established space superpowers, the United States and Russia, which decades ago learned the docking techniques carried out by the Shenzhou 10.
China must still master launching cargo and fuel via space freighters and recycling air and water for extended manned missions, state media have said. Plans call for a working space lab, the Tiangong 2, to be put into orbit in two years.
Beijing insists its space programme is for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. Defence Department has highlighted China’s increasing space capabilities and said Beijing is pursuing a variety of activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis.
(Reporting and writing by Terril Yue Jones and Michael Martina.; Editing by Nick Macfie)