A senior Chinese official announced yet another ambitious plan for the space-faring nation at a press conference on Saturday. PLA Lt. Gen. Zhang Yulin -- who is also deputy commander of the China Manned Space Program -- told reporters that China plans to land an astronaut on the Moon by 2036. This announcement eclipses China's earlier claims that it will explore the dark side of the moon in 2018 and launch two new space stations (one this year, another in 2022). It already sent a rover to the moon in 2013. The country will reportedly use the next "15 to 20 years", according to Reuters, to build out the necessary infrastructure.
Specifically, China currently lacks a carrier rocket powerful enough to get a crew to the moon. If they don't build their own, they'd have to do what the US did after retiring the shuttle program -- that is, ask the Russians for a lift -- or at least get America to spot them a go-round on the SLS. Of course, they'll also need to invent a lunar module as well as functional spacesuits for the time they're there.
That may sound like a good deal of work but if America could put a man on the moon back in the '60s in less than a decade -- which might as well have been the stone age by today's standards -- China, the economic and intellectual powerhouse that it is, shouldn't have much issue getting their program together in the modern era. That said, unlike NASA and the ESA, China's space program is notoriously secretive, which means we may not know if they're even capable of doing it until they actually do it.