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About China


Railways | Highways | Inland River Transport
Ocean Shipping | Civil Aviation | Post and Telecommunications

[ Railways ]

By 1999 the total length of rail lines opened to traffic in China had reached 65,780 km, including electrified lines of 8,988 kilometres. The volume of freight was 1.64 billion tons, and passenger transport totalled 1.089 billion. In 1999, 3,346 kilometres of new railways and double-track lines were laid.

There are two trunk rail lines; one from north to south, the other from east to west. The north-south line, with Beijing as its key link, consists of Beijing-Guangzhou Railway and Beijing-Harbin Railway. The east-west line, with Zhengzhou as its key link, consists of Lianyungang-Lanzhou Railway and Lanzhou-Urumqi Railway. The latter has been extended west to link with the railways in Kazakhstan, and formally began operation in late 1992. Thus Asia and Europe are linked by railways from Lianyungang in China to Rotterdam in Holland. New rail lines have been built in mountainous areas in southwestern China, mainly Chengdu-Chongqing Railway, Baoji-Chengdu Railway and Chengdu- Kunming Railway. Now under construction the 2,538-kilometre Beijing- Kowloon Railway, running through nine provinces and municipalities, will become another south-north trunk line between Beijing-Guangzhou and Beijing-Shanghai trunk lines. It is expected that the construction will be completed by the end of 1995.

[ Highways ]

In 1999, there were 1.029 million kms of highways newly opened to traffic, nearly 444 kilometres of which were expressways. New expressways under construction include Shanghai-Nanjing, Shanghai- Hangzhou, Hangzhou-Ningbo, Guangzhou-Zhuhai, Shenzhen-Shantou, Luoyang- Kaifeng and Hohhot-Baotou. In 1999 China had 1.1782 million kilometres of highways opened to traffic, of which 1,555 kilometres were expressways and 9.078 kilometres of first- and second-grade highways. In 1993 8.94 billion tons of freight and 9.16 billion passengers moved on China's highway, an increase of 6.4 percent and 6.4 percent respectively over 1992. Today every county in China is accessible by highway. Highways provide service to every town and township on the nation's plains.

[ Inland River Transport ]

Navigable inland water-ways in China totaled 110,000 kilometres in 1999. The freight handling capacity of over 2-million-ton inland ports was 260 million tons in 1999. The Yangtze, the "golden waterway" of China's inland river transport, has 6,000 kilometres navigable throughout the year. The annual transport capacity, both freight and passenger transport, amounted to more than 70 percent of China's total capacity. Other major navigable rivers are the Heilong, the Pearl, and the Grand Canal between Beijing and Hangzhou.

[ Ocean Shipping ]

In 1999 China's main coastal harhours handled 766 million tons of cargo, a 12.9 percent increase over the previous year. China has an extensive coastline with more than 20 harhours with nearly 1,763 berths, 350 of which are of 10,000-ton capacity. Coastal shipping lines transport coal, grain and sundry goods. China's ocean-shipping fleet, ranking eighth in the world in total tonnage, is linked by nearly 100 navigation lines with more than 1,100 ports in over 160 countries and regions, and handles more than 100 million tons of goods annually.

[ Civil Aviation ]

By 1999 China had opened 668 air routes totaling 1.046 million kilometres. international air routes numbered 84, totaling 352,000 kilometres. The domestic airlines radiate from Beijing to all the provinces, autonomous regions and centrally administered municipalities, major tourist and open cities and border areas. The international-airlines reach more than 40 cities, including Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore, Seoul, Karachi, Shajah, London, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Vienna, Brussels, Milan, Moscow, New York, Los Angeles, Jakarta, Nagoya and Tashkent. Chinese civil airways fly Boeing 767s, 757s, 747s and 737s, and MD82s, and other large airplanes. In 1999 Chinese civil airways carried 829,000 tons of freight and 40.39 million passengers, an increase of 19.5 percent and 19.4 percent, respectively, over the previous year.

[ Post and Telecommunications ]

In 1994 China had 60,400 post offices serving 5,244 million kilometres of postal routes. Aggregate postal and telecommunications volume totaled 68.8 billion yuan, a 48.7 percent increase over 1992. In 1994, China began using seven new optical cables, having completed all 22 optical cable projects stipulated in the Eighth Five-Year Plan (1991-1995) one year ahead of schedule. China also built or expanded 19 ground satellite stations. An additional 19.56 million circuits were added to the telephone exchange capacity, bringing total telephone exchange capacity in urban and rural areas to 61.62 million circuits. Programme control has come to 97 percent of China's urban telephone networks, and 80 percent of long-distance transmission is digitalized. The numbers of pagers and mobile telephones reached 10 million and 1.57 million respectively. At present, 40-odd cities provide international express mail service, and some cities have developed international automatic telex, data transmission, facsimile, and TV programm transmissions in China. Now Beijing, Shanghai and other cities can communicate with all countries through international communication setellites over the Indian and Pacific oceans.