With an aggressive effort since 1949, by the Chinese government to improve their country, a comprehensive transportation system was created. It consisted of railways, highways, airplanes and water transportation. Just before 1950, there were only 21,800 km of railway lines available, By the end of 1999, there were in total over 3.55 million km transportation lines throughout China.
Beijing is the hub for the railway line that heads north to south, consisting of the following lines: Beijing-Guangzhou Railway, Beijing-Shanghai Railway, Beijing-Kowloon Railway and the Beijing-Harbin Railway. The line that heads from west to east has its hub located in Zhengzhou. Railways from China to Holland now connect Asia and Europe. Newer lines have been built in southern China.
All town and counties are easy to reach through the development of the highway system, with nearly 1.278 million km stretching across the country. Compare that to the length of highways in 1949. 80,000 km. Now, towns, counties and townships that were once inaccessible, are within reach. Major expressways such as: Shenyang-Dalian, Beijing-Tianjin-Tanggu, Guangzhou-Shenzhen, Jinan-Qingdao and Yichang-Huangshi are a few examples. In 1998 alone, 37,000 km of highways were built, of those 1,487 km were expressways.
During the reformation, China worked hard at building and expanding airports. Between 1949 and 1978, China was willing to invest lots of money to expand and build airports. Since then, airports have been built to accommodate the needs of economic development. By 1998, there were more than 140 airports opened. The hub of air travel is based in Beijing, with Beijing being the base for international travel.
Travel from places as far off as Tokyo, Bangkok, Jakarta, Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, London, New York and Vancouver. Also, airlines depend on Beijing to all the provinces, regions, the open cities, border and remote areas.
Another method of travel in China is via the waterways. With a coast of 18,000 km it is understandable why it can provide such convenience for inland development. The main rivers that are inland are the Yangtze, the Pearl, the Heilongjiang, the Huaihe, the Quiantang, the Minjiang and the Huangpu. The Yangtze is considered to be the "golden waterway". It is used for both freight and passenger transportation. The shipping out in the ocean off of China is divided up into two zones, the northern and the southern.
The northern zone consists of Shanghai as Dalian as the main shipping hubs. The southern hub has Guangzhou. Today the Shanghai Harbor is one of the largest harbors in the world, amongst the 20 other coastal harbors that inhabit China. By 1998 alone, there were over 12 billion people using water transportation as a means of traveling.
Another source of travel, is via telecommunications. Before 1978, there were no mobile telecommunications within China. But during 1978, optical cable lines expanded to 173,000 km. By 1998, mobile phone capacity was a high levels with just over 110 million users. Just over 10% of China?s population. Soon, China was the third-largest market for mobile phones in the world. Now, all large and at least mid-sized cities, have up to date services. Services that provide: international express mail service, international automatic telex, data transmission, express fax and TV program transmission services.
Not to be forgotten, is also the various services available over the Internet such as e-mail and e-commerce. The use of data communications have grown from nothing, to an efficient network.
Since the founding of the PRC in 1949, China has formed a comprehensive transportation system comprehending railways, a posts and telecommunications network accessible from all directions. As the market economy system was established after the initiation of the policies of reform and opening to the outside world in 1978, historic changes took place in transport, posts and telecommunications - they have developed quickly and are heading for openness and competition, emerging from a closed and monopolistic state.
By the end of 1998, the total length of transportation lines in China had reached 2.98 million km, 16 times and 2.4 times the lengths in 1949 and 1978 respectively; the total length of optical cable lines had reached 173,000 km from zero in 1978. In 1978, there were no mobile telecommunications in China; however, by the end of 1998, the nation's total mobile phone exchange capacity had reached 43.65 million users. Mobile telecommunications have developed to the extent of using analogue and digital networks, and realized automatic roaming with some countries and regions. Data telecommunications have grown from nothing to the stage of having an efficient network.
While traveling in China, please pay attention to Chinese traffic regulations for safety's sake.
The Chinese traffic regulations stipulate that all motor vehicles must keep to the right of the road. Drivers must pay serious attention to any changes of traffic signals:
- The red light means Stop
- The yellow light means Caution - stop and check cross traffic before continuing on.
- The green light means Go - you may proceed. Turning either right or left is permitted providing you do not obstruct the movement of motor vehicles traveling straight.