Crew members of the Shenzhou XIV mission, Chen Dong (right), Liu Yang (center) and Cai Xuzhe, attend a preflight ceremony at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, on June 5, 2022. Theirs is the first in a series of missions that together will see Chinese astronauts in space throughout the next 10 years. [Photo by Li Gang/Xinhua]
By ZHAO LEI
Chinese astronauts who took part in the nation's four most recent spaceflights were given medals and honorary titles on Monday during a ceremony in Beijing.
General He Weidong, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and a vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, said at the event that all 12 crew members from the Shenzhou XII, XIII, XIV and XV missions were preeminent representatives of the nation's space sector.
The astronauts had been tasked with overseeing the in-orbit assembly of China's Tiangong space station, mounting equipment inside and outside the massive outpost, and running science and technology programs on board the station.
The decision to honor them was made by the CPC Central Committee, State Council, and the Central Military Commission.
He urged all Chinese people to learn from the astronauts' loyalty to the Party and the motherland, devotion to their duty, aspiration to explore, and pursuit of excellence.
The general said all space-sector workers should uphold and implement the roadmap made by the CPC Central Committee and President Xi Jinping, always keep their tasks in mind, and maintain confidence and self-reliance, so they can break new ground in space endeavor and contribute to the building of a powerful military and a strong country.
He noted that during the four spaceflights, Xi had inspected the space facilities involved in the Tiangong program, had video chats with the astronauts, met scientists and engineers, and issued congratulatory letters, which represented the great attention from the Party and the government for the country's space programs and their high hopes for them.