A conference in March 1966 laid broad guidelines for development of China's space program. Discussed were Project 651 (artificial satellite) and proposals for Project 911 (recoverable satellite). Discussion also included proposals for a manned program with a spacecraft based upon the planned recoverable satellite. The program was given the name Shuguang (meaning Dawn).
Planning on the secret program progressed, and in late 1970 the astronaut selection process began with a thousand pilots. The personnel being tested were not initially informed of the purpose of the tests. A final group of 19 was finally selected in April 1971 and called Project 714 (after the year and month).
Resources for Project 714 were very scare. The pilots had difficulty getting flying time and spacecraft mockups were made from cardboard and wood. Requests for additional resources were rebuffed by Mao Zedong himself. By the spring of 1972, all the pilots had returned to their units and Project 714 ended.
A list of the candidates include: