Chinese Leaders with Aerospace Backgrounds

Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we present the following excerpt concerning senior Chinese government officials with aerospace and technical backgrounds.  [Full Report]

Confused by the acronyms in the table below? Parabolic Arc has added descriptions of the listed ministries and companies.


Many officials with backgrounds in the state defense complex have moved to senior government positions. While not all of these officials have backgrounds in space specifically, the result of these moves has been that senior Chinese political leaders often have a stronger technical understanding of the space sector than their foreign counterparts (see Addendum I listing key Chinese officials with aerospace sector backgrounds).

Addendum I: Key Chinese Officials
with Aerospace Sector Backgrounds

NameBirth DateCurrent PositionFormer Aerospace Position
Zhang Qingwei (张庆伟)November 1961Central Committee full member (16th–19th Party Congresses)
Heilongjiang Province Party Secretary
SASTIND Director
CASC General Manager
COMAC Chairman
Chen Qiufa
(陈求发)
December 1954Central Committee full member (19th Party Congress)
Liaoning Province Party Secretary
SASTIND Director
CNSA Director
MIIT Vice-Minister
Jin Zhuanglong (金壮龙)March 1964Central Committee full member (19th Party Congress)
Central Commission on Military and Civilian Integrated Development Executive Vice-Director
SASTIND Deputy Director
CASC Deputy General Manager
COMAC General Manager
CNSA Deputy Director
Ma Xingrui (马兴瑞)October 1959Central Committee full member (18th–19th Party Congresses)
Guangdong Province Governor
MIIT Vice-Minister
SASTIND Director
CASC General Manager
CAST Vice-Dean
Xu Dazhe
(许达哲)
September 1956Central Committee full member (18th–19th Party Congresses)
Hunan Province Governor
SASTIND Director
CNSA Director
MIIT Vice-Minister
CASC President and Party Secretary
CASIC General Manager
Yuan Jiajun (袁家军)September 1962Central Committee full member (19th Party Congress)
Zhejiang Province Governor
CAST President and
Vice-Chairman
Shenzhou Program Chief Commander
Tang Dengjie (唐登杰)June 1964Central Committee alternate member (19th Party Congress)
Fujian Province Governor
SASTIND Director
CNSA Director
Huang Qiang
(黄强)
April 1963Gansu Province Vice-GovernorSASTIND Deputy Director
SASTIND Director-General
AVIC First Aircraft Research
Institute Director

Acronyms

  • AVIC: Aviation Industry Corporation of China
  • CASC: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation
    • CAST: China Academy of Space Technology
  • CASIC: China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation
  • CNSA: China National Space Administration
  • COMAC: Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China
  • MIIT: Ministry of Industry and Information Technology
    • SASTIND: State Administration for Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense

Detailed descriptions of the above ministries and companies follow.

Governing Body

Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

Composed of top leaders of the Communist Party, the Central Committee is the “party’s highest organ of authority” when the National Congress is not meeting in plenary session. The committee operates as a top forum for debating policy issues and typically meets at least once per year. The committee elects the General Secretary and members of the Politburo and the Central Military Commission.

Full Members: 205
Alternate Members: 171
Elections: Every 5 years

Ministries and Agencies

Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT)

MIIT is responsible for regulating, developing and promoting China’s Internet, wireless services, broadcasting, communications, knowledge economy and postal service. The ministry also oversees production of electronic and information products and the software industry.

State Administration for Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND)

Under direct supervision of MIIT, SASTIND’s major responsibilities include the nuclear weapons, aerospace technology, aviation, armaments, watercraft and electronics industries. SASTRIND is also responsible for coordinating cooperation on the use of nuclear power and space activities with countries and international organizations.

SASTIND has been leading China’s drive for military-civil fusion in space by providing funding to startups such as ispace, which accomplished the nation’s “private” orbital satellite launch in July 2019.

SASTIND also release new guidelines last year for commercial launch vehicle development. Companies are required companies to obtain government permission before beginning R&D on or testing new boosters.

China National Space Administration (CNSA)

CNSA is China’s national space agency with responsibility for planning and developing space activities.

State-owned Companies

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)

CASC is the main contractor for the Chinese space program. The corporation is mainly engaged in the research, design, manufacture, test and launch of space vehicles as well as strategic and tactical missile systems. 

CASC has eight large R&D and production complexes, 11 specialized companies, 13 listed companies and a number of directly affiliated units. A subsidiary, the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), is the nation’s main developer and producer of spacecraft.

Known for: Long March launch vehicles, Shenzhou crewed spacecraft, Tiangong space stations, Tianzhou cargo ships, Beidou navigation system, Chang’e lunar orbiters and loanders, communications satellites, Earth observation spacecraft

Industries: aerospace, defense
Employees: 179,788

Financials
(Source: Fortune)

Fortune 500 Global Rank: 323
Revenues ($M): $37,727.60
Profits ($M) : $2,463.70
Assets ($M): $63,496.80
Total Stockholder Equity ($M): $27,835.00

R&D and Production Complexes
(via Wikipedia)

  • China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology
    • China Energine International (Holdings) Limited
  • Academy of Aerospace Solid Propulsion Technology
  • China Academy of Space Technology (CAST)
  • Academy of Aerospace Liquid Propulsion Technology
  • Sichuan Academy of Aerospace Technology
  • Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST)
  • China Academy of Aerospace Electronics Technology
  • China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics

Specialized Companies
(Via Wikipedia)

  • China Satellite Communications
    • APT Satellite International
      • APT Satellite Holdings
  • China Great Wall Industry Corporation Limited
  • China Aerospace Engineering Consultation Center
  • China Centre for Resources Satellite Data and Application
  • Aerospace Science & Technology France Co, Ltd.
  • Aerospace Capital Holding Co, Ltd.
  • China Aerospace Times Electronics Corporation
  • China Aerospace International Holdings
  • Beijing Shenzhou Aerospace Software Technology Co, Ltd.
  • Shenzhen Academy of Aerospace Technology
  • Aerospace Long-March International Trade Co, Ltd.
  • China Siwei Surveying and Mapping Technology Co, Ltd
  • China Aerospace Investment Holdings
    • Easy Smart Limited

Directly Subordinated Units
(Via Wikipedia)

  • China Astronautics Standards Institute
  • China Astronautics Publishing House
  • Space Archives
  • Aerospace Communication Center
  • China Space News
  • Chinese Society of Astronautics
  • Aerospace Talent Development & Exchange Center
  • Aerospace Printing Office

China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC)

CASIC is a large state-owned conglomerate that is playing a major player in helping China to commercialize the launch vehicle and small-satellite industries.

CASIC created a subsidiary, Expace Technology Corporation, to manage small-satellite launches using solid-fuel Kuaizhou 1A boosters. CASIC is also involved in developing the Xingyun Internet of Things and Hongyun low-Earth orbit broadband constellations.

Known for: Kuaizhou 1A launcher, satellites

Industries: aerospace, defense, automotive, construction, electronics,  information technology, infrastructure, telecommunications Industries: aerospace, defense
Employees: 146,346

Financials
(Source: Fortune)

Fortune 500 Global Rank: 322
Revenues ($M): $37,869.80
Profits ($M): $1,846.40
Assets ($M): $47,048.10
Total Stockholder Equity ($M): $18,100.80

Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)

AVIC provides a full range of aviation services from research and development to operation, manufacturing and financing. Business units cover defense, transport aircraft, helicopters, avionics and systems, general aviation, flight testing, trade and logistics, assets management, finance services, engineering and construction, automobiles and more. AVIC has over 100 subsidiaries and nearly 26 listed companies.

Industries: aerospace, defense
Employees: 446,613

Financials
(Source: Fortune)

Fortune 500 Global Rank: 151
Revenues ($M) : 65,534.40
Profits ($M): $695
Assets ($M): $138,082.70
Total Stockholder Equity ($M): $26,644.30

Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC)

COMAC C919 jetliner prototype.

COMAC is developing large passenger aircraft programs in China, including the C919 jetliner. The company is mainly engaged in the research, manufacturing and flight tests of trunk liner and related products, as well as marketing, servicing, leasing and operations. The company is a shareholder of China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Co., Ltd., Chengdu Airlines Co., Ltd. and SPDBank Financial Leasing Co., Ltd.

Known for: ARJ21, C919 and CR929 airliners