ONE of the biggest shake-ups in Chinese aviation and aerospace history has begun to take shape, with radical changes ranging from ideological thinking and leadership roles to the names of official aviation journals. The Ministry of Aerospace Industry in China is being split into two specialised economic entities - one for space, one aviation - as part of the State Council's restructuring programme for government institutions, announced at last month's Eighth National People's Congress. The bodies are being provisionally referred to as the China National Aviation Industry Corporation and China National Space Industry Corporation. The split will give both flexibility to develop as profit-orientated businesses. Mr Zhu Yuli, Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Aerospace Industry (MAI) responsible for the Civil Aviation Administration of China, is expected to head the aviation corporation. The appointment would make him the most important person in China's civil aviation industry. Mr Zhu replaced Mr He Wenzhi as first Vice-Minister of Aerospace in July last year. Mr Liu Jiyuan, a newly appointed Vice-Minister for Aerospace, is expected to become chief of the space corporation. The two corporations will report to the State Economic and Trade Commission, to be transformed from the present Economic and Trade Office under Vice-Premier Mr Zhu Rongji. At the congress, debate on aerospace centred on whether the aviation and space bodies should become government administrations or semi-autonomous corporations. The latter option won, as sources said the top hierarchy favoured the formation of two corporations in line with the government's market economy policy. The China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) will report to the aviation corporation. However, under the restructure, CATIC's four newly created subsidiaries in Xian, Chengdu, Shanghai and Guangdong will become more autonomous. They will deal directly with customers without having to go through CATIC. CATIC will still be responsible for negotiating major international projects on their behalf. A further six separate companies will be created under the CATIC umbrella. No further details of what form they will take has been announced. The restructure is likely to change drastically all levels of China's aviation industry. Even official aviation journals such as the China Aerospace News is expected to be spun off into two publications, China Aero News and China Space News.