Village hopes entering space age with own astronaut

Updated: 2013-06-06 15:01

By Ju Chuanjiang and Zhao Ruixue in Yantai (

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Village hopes entering space age with own astronaut

The home of Wang Yaping is seen in Zhanggezhuang village, Shandong province. [Photo by Ju Chuanjiang/China Daily]

Residents of a village in Shandong province are out of this world with joy as one of their own may be heading for space.

Wang Yaping, who grew up in the village, is the only woman astronaut candidate who might have a seat in the Shenzhou X spacecraft that will take off in mid-June.

If she is selected, she will be China's second woman in space, after Liu Yang who stayed in orbit for 13 days last year in Shenzhou IX.

With some 1,000 homes, Zhanggezhuang village, in Zhanggezhuang town, nestled in the coastal city of Yantai, is famous for cherry trees.

"Journalists are coming here to get information on her," Xing Jian, deputy party chief of the village said.

"But she and her family remain low-key."

Words are written on the outside of the home that indicate the family values. "Diligence can make you rich and kindness can make you happy".

The door of Wang's home is locked as her parents are in Beijing.

"We expect her return to taste the cherries. She likes them very much," one of Wang's neighbors said.

Zhanggezhuang town has more than 1,300 hectares of land for cherry trees, accounting for 90 percent of the town's total farm area.

Annual cherry output is about 13 million kilograms, generating 200 million yuan ($32.61 million) in revenue.

In 2011, the town was recognized as the top cherry town in the country by the China Fruit Marketing Association, a non-profit organization registered under the Ministry of Civil Affairs.