"Why are you here?!" is never a particularly friendly question but the spaceflight scientists studying human physiology and related spacecraft systems in low Earth orbit and beyond have a point.
It is true the place of my birth, the United Kingdom, is not involved in manned spaceflight although the UK government's latest science minister has dropped the historical policy of in-principal opposition and held out the prospect of UK involvement once again.
However the speeches this morning at the opening of the 16th International Academy of Astronauts' Humans in Space conference here at the Beijing Friendship Hotel are friendlier and there is lots of waffle about peaceful exploration from dry officials and a handful of astronauts. China's first astronaut Yang Liwei came under particularly intense media attention.
While others, perhaps even some of those dry officials, were more interested in hearing about the prospect of a Chinese manned lunar mission.
Arriving Saturday I had some time to wander around this capital city of the world's most populous nation on Earth and latest manned explorer of the final frontier.
Like so many developing countries there is that strange phenomena of lots of people just hanging around for no apparent reason.
In Communist China this also manifests itself in employing two people when obviously one would do.
For reasons that are beyond me you can find female soldiers posted throughout the Friendship Palace and its corridor linking it to my five-star hotel building, imaginatively called Building Number Four.
Well they smile nicely enough, with an extendable baton attached to the belt holding up the trousers of the uniform that seems a bit too big for their small and slight bodies.
But there is one thing that the UK and China have in common. Back home we have unpopular Primeminister Tony Blair stepping down on 27 June and he is being replaced through the unopposed party leadership election of his finance minister Gordon Brown.
An electoral process the Chinese government can understand.