BEIJING, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Jing Haipeng, the first Chinese astronaut to go into space three times, has voiced his desire to go into space again as a further demonstration of his loyalty to the Communist Party of China (CPC).
"I'm eager to go to space again, be a pioneer in the battle one more time," said the 51-year-old major general and delegate to the ongoing 19th National Congress of the CPC.
"Let the vastness of space witness again the absolute loyalty of a revolutionary soldier, a CPC member and a space warrior," Jing told Xinhua.
"I must give all the people involved in China's manned space program a thumbs-up," Jing said. "China's aerospace industry has achieved one breakthrough after another over the past five progressive years."
"Numerous people have spent their blood and sweat to engrave their loyalty to the Party and the people onto the universe, in the country's journey toward becoming a space power," the astronaut said.
Following his trips on Shenzhou-7 in 2008 and Shenzhou-9 in 2012, Jing's latest mission was on board Shenzhou 11, launched on Oct. 17, 2016.
Shenzhou-11 docked two days later with China's first space lab, Tiangong-2, where Jing and the other astronaut Chen Dong lived for 30 days, the longest time a taikonaut has spent in space.
"I grew up in a small village, and my mum and dad were farmers," Jing said. "So far I've realized my dreams one by one and mounted the steps one after another."
"There are words from the bottom of my heart: Never forget it is the training of the Party and the country which enables me to fly higher and higher. As a serviceman, I never forget the care, instruction and guidance of organizations at various levels," said the emotional astronaut.
This is not the first time Chinese astronauts have expressed their Communist beliefs and loyalty to the Party. China's first astronaut Yang Liwei told reporters at another Party congress 10 years ago that astronauts might start a branch of the CPC in space.
"If China has its own space station, the taikonauts on mission will carry out the regular activities of a CPC branch in the way we do on earth, such as learning the Party's policies and exchanging opinions on Party decisions," Yang said.
According to the CPC Constitution, a grass-root CPC organization should be established where there are three or more CPC members.
A permanent manned space station is part of China's plans, expected to enter into full service around 2022, with an initial designed life of at least 10 years. It will accommodate three to six astronauts, who will stay in space for up to one year.