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China is an active spacefaring nation, with launches scheduled on a monthly basis from four major launch sites around the country. The newest of these, in Wenchang, is even conveniently located on subtropical resort island Hainan and apparently a major local tourist attraction.

However, is it possible for non-Chinese nationals to view rocket launches at these sites? The oldest and largest site, Jiuquan, has historically been completely off limits to foreigners, and while this news story from 2007 (!) implies all four are in various stages of opening up, the bureaucracy still sounds formidable ("Since satellite launches have strict requirements over a variety of issues, the launch center will not allow tourists to watch the scene unless all necessary precautions are taken.") and concrete information in English on what's possible, where to apply etc seems very thin on the ground.

(Also, I know China at time of writing basically bans inbound tourists due to COVID-19 concerns, but for the purposes of this question, please assume the visitor is already in the country.)

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    I am not sure about exact regulations for foreigners. For Chinese, Jiuquan requires a permit (which is mostly a formality, but that would probably cause problem to foreigners) to enter the vicinity. Taiyuan is not usually open to public. Xichang allows people to view launches from a designated area (at least within a guided tour group); but it's also bit of a sensitive area. I don't see any immediate problem for Wenchang, since it's a resort town; most people just watch from the beach or hotels. – xngtng Jun 8 '20 at 15:20
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    @zhantongz Please consider adding this as an answer! – lambshaanxy Jun 8 '20 at 22:08
  • You may look internet for guided groups (often travel agencies publish better documents and more discoverable, compared official pages). – Giacomo Catenazzi Jun 9 '20 at 6:49
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According to Wikipedia, non-Chinese individuals typically can't access Chinese launch facilities:

As with all Chinese launch facilities, it is remote and generally closed to foreigners.

Note that the news story from 2007 you mentioned on the opening of launch sites to tourists only pertains to Chinese tourists from my understanding:

  • It will allow Chinese tourists to take a closer look at the event for a cost of 800 yuan per person.
  • tap the potential of the local tourism market

The question then becomes: how can a non-Chinese watch a rocket launch in China from outside a launch site? As zhantongz mentions in the comment section, Wenchang in Hainan, sounds like a nice option to view launches from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site and some hotels there even have some "Launch Pad View Room", e.g.:

tripadvisor.com Review: Great location to see Spacecraft Launch Site and ocean view from "Launch Pad View Room". The service is excellent and the staff is friendly. Highly recommended this hotel. Will definitely reserve this hotel for the next visit. (Date of stay: March 2018; Room tip: "Launch Pad View Room" a view to see Spacecraft Launch Site and ocean)

Hilton Wenchang (mirror):

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