Abstract：This paper discusses the debate on the priority development of the space shuttle or the manned spacecraft during the formulation of the China's manned space program. The National High Technology Research and Development Program ("863" program) of China included the manned space flight project, but it's primary purpose is a technology tracking, rather than a construction project. In the later 1980's, a discussion was organized on the shuttle or the manned spacecraft as the priority approach in China's manned aerospace development. Affected by the USA space shuttle achievement, there are quite many experts and departments tend to give priority to the development of the space shuttle. With more in-depth researches, the viewpoint of giving priority to the spacecraft ultimately prevailed. According to China's national conditions, time and cost factors, technological accumulations as well as the degrees of difficulty, in 1992, in the manned space program, the state takes the manned spacecraft as the first step of China's manned space flight. The decision-making is correct in view of the later development of shuttles. This major policy was based on a wide range of prior researches, analyses and discussions.