Books

09.17.19

Railroads and the Transformation of China

Elisabeth Köll
Harvard University Press: As a vehicle to convey both the history of modern China and the complex forces still driving the nation’s economic success, rail has no equal. Railroads and the Transformation of China is the first comprehensive history, in any language, of railroad operation from the last decades of the Qing Empire to the present.China’s first fractured lines were built under semicolonial conditions by competing foreign investors. The national system that began taking shape in the 1910s suffered all the ills of the country at large: warlordism and Japanese invasion, Chinese partisan sabotage, the Great Leap Forward when lines suffered in the “battle for steel,” and the Cultural Revolution, during which Red Guards were granted free passage to “make revolution” across the country, nearly collapsing the system. Elisabeth Köll’s expansive study shows how railroads survived the rupture of the 1949 Communist revolution and became an enduring model of Chinese infrastructure expansion.The railroads persisted because they were exemplary bureaucratic institutions. Through detailed archival research and interviews, Köll builds case studies illuminating the strength of rail administration. Pragmatic management, combining central authority and local autonomy, sustained rail organizations amid shifting political and economic priorities. As Köll shows, rail provided a blueprint for the past 40 years of ambitious, semipublic business development and remains an essential component of the People’s Republic of China’s politically charged, technocratic economic model for China’s future.{chop}

Depth of Field

11.16.18

Where Do Bicycles Go When They Die?

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
In this issue of Depth of Field: the dying art of tomb burials; bike graveyards; and a son’s 20,000 photos of his mother.

Railroaded: The Chinese High-Speed Train Network No One Else Really Wants

Trefor Moss
Wall Street Journal
Terrain is easy, negotiations hard, as construction begins on politically fraught route through Southeast Asia.

East China Sea Oil Tanker Burns for Third Day as Winds, High Waves Lash Rescuers

Josephine Mason, Yuna Park
Reuters
The poor conditions, with rain and waves as high as 3 meters (10 feet), frustrated efforts to tame the fire and search for the 31 remaining tanker crew members, China’s Ministry of Transport said in a statement on Tuesday.

This Week, Half of China's Population Is on the Move

Echo Huang
Quartz
Close to 700 million people in China are expected to travel during the country’s National Day holidays, known as the Golden Week, which kicked off on Sunday (Oct. 1).

China’s War on Smog Shakes up Ports; Tianjin Loses, Rivals Benefit

Meng Meng and Josephine Mason
Reuters
China’s war on smog is shaking up the country’s busiest ports, which handle billions of tonnes of cargo a year, forcing Tianjin to overhaul its business as northern rivals snare a greater share of vast coal and iron ore shipments, results show.

China to Rev up Bullet Train Revolution with World's Fastest Service on Shanghai-Beijing Line

Sarah Zheng
South China Morning Post
China will soon start official operation of the world’s fastest train service, knocking an hour off the 1,318km journey between Beijing and Shanghai.

SoftBank Partners with China’s Ofo to Bring Its Dock-Less Bikes to Japan

Jon Russell
TechCrunch
A month after committing to help WeWork enter Japan, SoftBank is lending a hand to another global unicorn with its sights set on the country. Today, it announced a tie-in that will bring Ofo’s dock-less bike rental service to Japanese soil.

Caixin Media

06.27.17

Is China Building Too Many Airports?

Over the next three years, local authorities in China are planning to build more than 900 airports for general aviation—the segment of the industry that includes crop dusting and tourism. The figure is nearly double the central government’s goal of...

American Airlines Seeks China Southern Tie-Up as Traffic Booms

Neil Gough
New York Times
American Airlines is looking to become the second big carrier in the United States to buy its way into capturing more of the big and growing business of flying to China.

Philippines’ Duterte Asks China to Patrol Piracy-Plagued Waters

Reuters
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he had asked China to help in the fight against Islamic State-linked militants by sending ships to patrol southern waters plagued by raids on commercial vessels.

Environment

09.15.16

A Chinese Train Could Link South America’s Atlantic and Pacific Coasts by Rail for the First Time

from chinadialogue
Official bodies from Brazil and Peru have expressed concern about the social and environmental impacts of the proposed interoceanic railway, which will connect the coast of Peru and Brazil, cutting through 621 miles of pristine rainforest.In a...

China Lays New Brick in Silk Road With First Afghan Rail Freight

Eltaf Najafizada
Bloomberg
China has for years had grand investment plans for Afghanistan’s resource riches.

Environment

07.21.16

Chengdu’s Pollution Is Complicated by Taxi Apps

from chinadialogue
Research carried out by Peking University’s Statistical Science Centre and Guanghua School of Management found that Chengdu suffers from air pollution 88 percent of the time—even worse than Beijing at 76 percent.

Uber Backers Said to Push for Didi Truce in Costly China War

Alex Barinka, Eric Newcomer, and Lulu...
Bloomberg
Several institutional investors are pushing Uber to ink a partnership agreement with Didi Chuxing.

‘Destined to Disappear’: The Last Generation of China’s ‘Bang-Bang’ Army

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Itinerant porters face a vocational extinction in the towering hills of Chongqing....

What the Newly Branded China-Europe ‘Silk Road’ Trains Really Mean

Wade Shepard
Forbes
Trans-continental railway with fresh, uniform logos are set to launch on an auspicious date....

Uber Rival’s $28 Billion Valuation Shows Size of China’s Ride-Sharing Market

Paul Mozer and Michael J. de la Merced
New York Times
Recent fund-raising rounds in the ride-sharing market show that China is one of the most expensive markets in the world.

Insurance Firm China Life Puts $600M into Didi Chuxing Months after Backing Uber

Jon Russell
TechCrunch
It provides an equity investment of $300 million, and a separate “long-term debt investment” of RMB 2 billion ($305 million).

U.S. Throws China Off High-Speed Rail Project

Te-ping Chen
Wall Street Journal
China state media says XpressWest’s move is irresponsible.

Features

02.18.16

The Bamboo Bicycles of Chengdu

Sascha Matuszak
The shift in how Chinese prefer to get around means salespeople in China have to market bicycles as fashion accessories, rather than as reliable modes of transportation. This is where colorful custom-made fixed gear bicycles come in. Hipsters from...

China Sends 6,000 Police to Quell New Year Train Station Chaos

Tom Philips
Guardian
Tens of thousands still waiting for transport at Guangzhou main rail depot.

Chinese Ministry Says China Has 17M Road Rage Case In 2015, As Viral Videos Attest

Huileng Tan
CNBC
China is the world's largest vehicle market, and possibly one of the world's most dangerous, if the latest figures are any indication...

Caixin Media

07.14.15

Uber CEO Enjoying a Fast China Ride

Demand for cross-town transportation is at the heart of an urban lifestyle that is defining modern China. It is also giving the American car-hire service Uber Technologies Inc. an incredible ride.Few are enjoying the ride more than Uber CEO Travis...

Ship Sinks in China’s Yangtze River with 458 Aboard

Jethro Mullen
CNN
The captain and chief engineers were among the only 15 survivors and five bodies recovered as of Tuesday night.

China’s Mystery Transportation Infrastructure Deal with the African Union

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
It’s not really news anymore when China announces yet another massive infrastructure construction deal in Africa. Typically these deals are done at the national level, so when Beijing and the African Union signed a major transport infrastructure MOU...

Environment

10.23.14

Tesla-Unicom Deal Could Spark China’s Electric Vehicle Market

from chinadialogue
Electric vehicle firm Tesla’s major new deal with China Unicom to build EV charging infrastructure unites what is seemingly the only EV success story, pursuing a business model targeting elite customers, with China’s second largest mobile phone...

Chinese Drivers Pollute Without Guilt

Adam Miner
Bloomberg
Chinese demand for private transportation soars while air-quality plummets. 

China Signals Reform Of Rail System

Colum Murphy
Wall Street Journal
 China signaled it is on the verge of shaking up its massive railway system, long plagued by corruption allegations and heavy debt. Reform of China’s Railways Ministry will start once a plan to merge it with China’s Transport...

Caixin Media

09.07.12

Despite Regulations, Bus Travel Still Risky

Thirty-six people died recently on a Shaanxi province highway when a double-decker bus slammed into a fuel tanker.The crash underscored ongoing demands for beefing up traffic law enforcement and improving the design of these often-crowded overnight...

Reports

06.17.09

Report on the Tri-Provincial and Hubei-Xiaogan-Xiangfan Highway Projects

World Bank
This is a report on the performance of two highway projects in China which were financed by a loan from the World Bank. The Tri-Provincial Highway Project, which links Gansu, Ningxi, and Inner Mongolia, and the Hubei-Xiaogan-Xiangfan Highway Project...