China's leaders consider the expensive, and generally useless for anything practical, space program, to be a shrewd political and military move. The Communist Party that still runs China is an un-elected, corrupt and not terribly efficient crew that needs the admiration and loyalty of most Chinese in order to stay in power. Building up the US as an external threat only works for so long. So putting a Chinese man in space causes most Chinese to feel good about their Communist Party, and more likely to be loyal to the government if there is some military spat with Taiwan or America. But one space mission does not keep the people content forever. There will have to be more. Meanwhile, the government continues to loosen up economic restrictions, so it is easier for Chinese to prosper and become rich. Bread and Circuses, so to speak.