Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn Illustration by Sam Ward On a spring day four years ago, China’s ultimate industrial dream came true. The C919, a single-aisle, two-engine jetliner, touched down in Shanghai to a throng of cheering spectators. No less than two members of the Communist Party’s mighty Politburo attended the celebratory festivities. The C919 had just completed its 79-minute maiden voyage, and its safe descent marked a “centurial breakthrough,” according to its manufacturer, the state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC). Shanghai Pudong International Airport, the company’s statement gushed, “held its breath, stared soulfully, and opened its arms” as the C919, “with blue painting to symbolize the sky and green painting to symbolize the earth… lightly spread the wings of youth.” COMAC went on to boast that it had already received orders for 570 C919s from 23 customers. Xinhua, the official state news agency, added to the excitement, proclaiming China had become “one of the world’sSubscribe or log in to read the rest.