Posts tagged ‘Hebei’

13/12/2016

A New Highway Links China’s Capital to a Hoped-For Future – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Beijing built it. Now will the traffic jams come?

A new highway loop around China’s capital opened last week, ticking off another checkbox in a long-held state plan to tie the city and its surrounding suburbs into a massive megalopolis known as Jing-Jin-Ji.

Locally known as the Seventh Ring Road and officially as the G-95 national highway, the roadway spans nearly 1,000 kilometers (about 620 miles) and links a dozen existing highways in a chain that circles the far outskirts of Beijing. Five successively smaller coils of highways sit inside of it. The smallest, and nearest to the Forbidden City in the core of the capital, is the Second Ring Road.

If the seventh ring were unwound and moved to the U.S., it would stretch roughly a sixth of the way across the United States.

As it is, about 90% of the Seventh Ring Road snakes through 13 cities and largely undeveloped areas and farmland in nearby Hebei province. The name for the megalopolis, Jing-Jin-Ji, combines characters from Beijing and the port city of Tianjin and a name for Hebei.

Government planners hope that one day soon the less developed areas of this conurbation will be transformed into bedroom communities, office parks and industrial estates, giving impetus to new sources of economic growth and easing the pressure on Beijing’s clogged roadways and soaring property prices.

“Transportation is making a leading breakthrough, accelerating the integration of Jing-Jin-Ji,” the Ministry of Transport said in a statement last week.  The Communist Party’s newspaper, People’s Daily, said Monday that the new ring road “will effectively ease the pressure on vehicles in the capital region.”

Sanhe, a city in Hebei, is typical of the official plans for the region and was spotlighted by the government as an important link in the Seventh Ring Road. Sanhe borders the eastern Beijing suburb of Tongzhou district, where new Beijing city government offices are slated to open by the end of next year. Over the last year, the prospect of new business activity and services in Tongzhou spurred a mini home-buying frenzy.

Locals are anticipating that housing demand could someday spill into Sanhe. Wang Qiang, a 30-year-old installation engineer for a Chinese construction company, and his wife bought a one-bedroom apartment two years ago in Yanjiao, a town that is part of Sanhe and sits on the Tongzhou border. The value of his apartment has roughly doubled since then, a sign of rising demand for his neighborhood, he says. “Yanjiao prices closely follow Tongzhou prices,” Mr. Wang said.

During a recent drive to Sanhe, it took nearly an hour and half to escape the snarl of Beijing traffic. A few convenience stores dotted local roads. A sign for a “World Business Valley” housing development stretched over an archway in front of a land parcel overgrown with weeds.Three days after its official opening, the Sanhe stretch of the Seventh Ring Road was empty. The toll booths were staffed. The six-lane highway was smoothly paved. Half an hour went by, but there were no other cars on a sunny, blue-skied morning.

The taxi driver, Ms. Zhai, was asked if she’d consider buying a home someday in Sanhe, the site of possible future development.

“Here?” Ms. Zhai sighed. “I wouldn’t. I’m from Beijing, from Tongzhou. There are no businesses, no factories out here. I’d have to wait a few years, then maybe I’d buy. Maybe in 2020.”

Source: A New Highway Links China’s Capital to a Hoped-For Future – China Real Time Report – WSJ

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03/08/2016

Road test for homegrown transit elevated bus| Innovation

The transit elevated bus TEB-1 is on road test in Qinhuangdao, North China’s Hebei Province, Aug 2, 2016. China’s home-made transit elevated bus, TEB-1, conducted a road test running Tuesday.

The 22-meter-long, 7.8-meter-wide and 4.8-meter-high TEB-1 can carry up to 300 passengers. The passenger compartment of this futuristic public bus rises far above other vehicles on the road, allowing cars to pass underneath. [

Source: Road test for homegrown transit elevated bus[1]| Innovation

14/02/2015

China must cut pollution by half before environment improves: official | Reuters

China needs to slash emission levels by as much as half before any obvious improvements are made to its environment, a senior government official said on Friday, underscoring the challenges facing the country after three decades of breakneck growth.

A man wearing a mask walks on a street on a hazy day in Beijing in this file photo taken on October 24, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Zhai Qing, China’s deputy minister of environmental protection, told a briefing that pollutants had been cut by just “a few percentage points” since 2006 and had to drop much further if any progress is to be made.

“According to expert assessments, emissions will have to fall another 30-50 percent below current levels if we are to see noticeable changes in environmental quality,” he said.

China has vowed to close vast swathes of ageing heavy industrial capacity and slash coal consumption in heavily populated eastern coastal regions as part of its war on pollution.

Last November, it imposed draconian restrictions on industry throughout northern China in order to guarantee air quality during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit held in Beijing. Zhai said emissions in the region fell by more than 50 percent during the meeting.

He said China’s ability to control pollution was still “limited” and its policies still needed to be improved.

Only eight of the 74 cities monitored by the ministry met national pollution standards last year, according to official data published earlier this month.

via China must cut pollution by half before environment improves: official | Reuters.

10/02/2015

Pollution: The cost of clean air | The Economist

A DESOLATE scene surrounds Little Zhang’s Tyre Repair in the dusty rock-mining township of Shijing, in the northern province of Hebei. Zhang Minsheng, the owner, still gets some business from passing traffic. But the recent closure of nearby rock quarries, because of air-pollution restrictions, has taken its toll. He reckons his monthly income has fallen by 30-40% to around 4,000 yuan ($640). Next door a wholesale coal business has closed. So too have a small family-owned barbecue restaurant and an alcohol, tobacco and grocery store. Red characters posted by their entrances still forlornly proclaim their “grand opening”.

Last year on a typically smoggy day in Beijing, Li Keqiang, the prime minister, declared “war” on air pollution—a problem that has become a national fixation. Smog remains a grave danger in most Chinese cities, but environmental measures are beginning to show teeth. Regulators in the most polluted provinces are ordering mass closures of offending enterprises. In some areas officials are being punished for failing to control pollution. Policymakers are placing less emphasis on GDP growth—long an obsession of officials at all levels of government—and talking up greenness.

The transformation will be painful. China’s new toughness on polluting quarries, mills and factories coincides with an economic slowdown that will make it harder to create new jobs for those laid off. Slower growth is in line with the government’s efforts to curb wasteful investment, and with it a dangerous build-up of debt. The slowdown also happens to be helpful in curtailing pollution: China’s consumption of coal, a huge contributor to smog as well as to climate-change emissions, fell slightly in 2014 after 14 years of growth.

Mr Li’s war is especially bloody in Hebei, which is blamed for much of the smog in Beijing. Keeping the air of the capital clean is a political priority. Chinese leaders have been embarrassed by the damage caused to China’s international image by the city’s relentlessly grey skies. They worry that the smog could fuel dissatisfaction with the government and undermine stability in the capital, as well as affect their own and their families’ health. Dutifully, Hebei, which surrounds Beijing, has been trying to clean up. Since the beginning of 2013 it has reported closing down 18,000 polluting factories. In January Hebei Daily, a state-run newspaper, said that in Mancheng county, to which Shijing township belongs, 37 rock quarries and rubble pits had been shut.

via Pollution: The cost of clean air | The Economist.

03/02/2015

Mines Shut as China Burns Less Coal – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Yu County, a sprawling mountainous area in China’s northern industrial province of Hebei, is known for its ancient temples and coal mines. These days, the temples remain, but the mines are vanishing. As the WSJ’s Chuin-Wei Yap and Rhiannon Hoyle report:

“We used to have around 300 coal mines in the area. Now it’s down to 70-plus,” said a manager of a local pit who identified himself only as Mr. Cheng. Shrinking profit margins and a failure to meet safety standards have led many to close, Mr. Cheng said. His own midsize company, Kanghe Coal Mining Co., was swallowed by a larger competitor, state-owned Kailuan Group Co., last year.

What is happening in Yu County is an illustration of the bleak times for the global coal industry. Tougher environmental standards coupled with shrinking demand have led to the closing of mines across China and sent coal prices to their lowest in six years. China’s coal output likely fell 2.5% in 2014, the first annual decline in 14 years, the China Coal Industry Association said last week. And while full-year data aren’t yet available, official statistics show China consumed 1.1% less coal in the first three quarters of 2014 than a year earlier.

via Mines Shut as China Burns Less Coal – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

03/02/2015

China says 90 percent of cities failed to meet air standards in 2014 | Reuters

Nearly 90 percent of China’s big cities failed to meet air quality standards in 2014, but that was still an improvement on 2013 as the country’s “war on pollution” began to take effect, the environment ministry said on Monday.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection said on its website (www.mep.gov.cn) that only eight of the 74 cities it monitors managed to meet national standards in 2014 on a series of pollution measures such as PM2.5, which is a reading of particles found in the air, carbon monoxide and ozone.

Amid growing public disquiet about smog and other environmental risks, China said last year it would “declare war on pollution” and it has started to eliminate substandard industrial capacity and reduce coal consumption.

In 2013, only three cities – Haikou on the island province of Hainan, the Tibetan capital of Lhasa and the coastal resort city of Zhoushan – met the standards.

They were joined in 2014 by Shenzhen, Huizhou and Zhuhai in southeast Guangdong province, Fuzhou in neighboring Fujian and Kunming in the southwest.

Of the 10 worst-performing cities in 2014, seven were located in the heavy industrial province of Hebei, which surrounds the capital, Beijing, the ministry said. The cities of Baoding, Xingtai, Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Handan and Hengshui, all in Hebei, filled the top six places.

via China says 90 percent of cities failed to meet air standards in 2014 | Reuters.

26/01/2015

Govt sells off premium cars- Chinadaily.com.cn

The first group of premium government automobiles to be auctioned off amid the ongoing frugality campaign have gone under the hammer in Beijing.

Govt sells off premium cars

According to Zonto Auction, the 106 vehicles it sold on Sunday were from six central government departments including the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, China Securities Regulatory Commission and State Bureau for Letters and Calls.

The cars were without plates, which would have to be supplied by the purchasers.

A total of 505 bidders from around the country joined the auction, which brought in proceeds of 6.6 million yuan ($980,000).

The highest bid went to a Toyota cross country vehicle for 200,000 yuan.

Li Guanwen, 40, of Hebei province, bought a Skoda bus for 160,000 yuan.

“The market value of this bus is around 500,000 yuan,” said Li.

“I think the reform of official vehicles is a very good thing and is a very good approach to remind civil servants to cut costs and to serve the public well.”

In November 2013, public agencies were told to cut their vehicle fleets, as well as reduce receptions and overseas trips. The use of all vehicles, except those required for law enforcement, emergency duties and essential public services, were scrapped or severely reduced.

via Govt sells off premium cars[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn.

26/01/2015

Urbanisation: The great sprawl of China | The Economist

IN ANCIENT times, Beijing built towering city walls that helped to prevent undefendable sprawl. These days it builds ring roads, stretching built-up areas ever outwards. Near Langfang, a city halfway between the capital and its giant neighbour Tianjin, diggers dip their heads and cement mixers churn, paving the next circular expressway. When complete, the 900km (560-mile) Seventh Ring Road will surround Beijing at such a distance that most of it will run through the neighbouring province of Hebei, to which Langfang belongs, rather than the capital itself. Parts of it are 175km from Beijing’s centre (see map).

The Seventh Ring Road (really the sixth, but for obscure reasons there is no First Ring Road) is emblematic of modern Chinese cities: giant, sprawling and dominated by cars. Even before it is completed in a year or two (and its use assessed), another, even longer, orbital is being plotted. Like many of China’s infrastructure projects, the new road displays engineering prowess. The country’s successes in urban planning are less evident.

Breakneck urban growth has propelled China’s rise in the past three decades. Migration from the countryside has helped expand the urban population by 500m—the biggest movement of humanity the planet has seen in such a short time. Over half the population is now urban. Some live in the basements of apartment blocks, or in shacks built in courtyards. But Chinese cities have mostly avoided the squalor of many developing-world ones.

The result of this urban growth is not just that China has many large cities—more than 100 of them have more than a million people—but that some are supersized. At the end of last year the government at last acknowledged the special nature of these, introducing the term “megacity” to describe those whose populations, including that of their satellite towns, exceed 10m. Of the 30 cities worldwide that match this definition, six are in China: Shanghai (23m), Beijing (19.5m), Chongqing (13m), Guangzhou (12m), Shenzhen (11m) and Tianjin (11m). A further ten Chinese cities contain 5m-10m people. At least one of these, Wuhan, will pass 10m within a decade.

China depends on its cities for economic growth and innovation. But it is failing to make the most of its largest conurbations. Medium-sized agglomerations of 1.5m-6.5m are outperforming bigger ones in terms of environmental protection, economic development, efficient use of resources and the provision of welfare, says McKinsey, a consultancy. Residents are beginning to question whether their quality of life, which for many has improved by leaps and bounds, will continue to do so. The giant cities are polluted, pricey and congested. Average travel speed in Beijing is half that in New York or Singapore.

Most of China’s cities share the legacy of a central-planning mindset in which all life and work was centred on a single “work unit”. Cities were “built as producer centres rather than consumer ones”, says Tom Miller, author of “China’s Urban Billion”. Their planning focus was on industry; not commerce, services or even community. The work units are gone but the tradition of dehumanising architecture persists. Most new developments are built on giant blocks 400-800 metres long.

China has swapped its socialist dream for an American-style one of cars and sprawling suburbs. The number of cars has increased more than tenfold in the past decade, to 64m. The combination of superblocks and car-lust often adds up to a giant jam. Large blocks mean fewer roads to disperse traffic. Guidelines require a main urban road every 500 metres and an eight-lane road every kilometre. In the case of Beijing, a ring and radial system was also created, with the aim of providing speedy road access in and out of town, bypassing city traffic and linking satellite towns. Not a bad idea, except that workplaces have remained concentrated in the centre. The expressways funnel traffic into gridlock.

The ill-defined ownership rights of farmers have encouraged the sprawl. Officials can expropriate rural land easily and at little cost. Doing so is far cheaper than redeveloping existing urban areas. Industrial land is heavily subsidised, so factories have remained in urban areas rather than move to cheaper sites on city outskirts. The amount of land classified as urban has more than doubled since 2000—40% of new urbanites became so when cities engulfed their villages.

Sprawl has resulted in populations becoming more thinly spread. China’s megacities are less dense than equivalents elsewhere in the world (see chart). Guangzhou could contain another 4m people if it was as packed as Seoul in South Korea; Shenzhen could be larger by 5m. Extending outward takes a toll: slow commutes from far-flung suburbs increase fuel consumption and cut productivity.

Massive spending on infrastructure has hugely improved connections within and between cities. Since 1992 China has spent 8.5% of its national income on infrastructure each year, far more than Europe and America (2.6%) or India (3.9%). Yet city residents still complain. Subways are often built as engineering projects, with stops at set distances, rather than where people want them to be, says Sean Chiao of Aecom, an infrastructure firm. Buses, metros and rail networks are poorly integrated because separate agencies manage them.

via Urbanisation: The great sprawl of China | The Economist.

12/01/2015

“High-speed train tribe” grows with China’s expanding rail network – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China’s expanding high-speed train network and soaring property prices in big cities have seen the birth of the “high-speed train tribe,” a new set of commuters who travel to and from work by bullet train.

High-speed trains service for Beijing's neighboring township

Starting Monday, Beijing will be connected to Yanjiao Town in neighboring Hebei Province via three bullet trains during morning and evening rush hours. The new trains are a high-speed alternative for white-collar workers in the town who are used to suffering on slow, cramped buses on their way to the capital city.

The trains, coded D9022, D9023 and D9024, will help Yanjiao commuters reach Beijing in only half an hour, much shorter than buses, which typically take an hour.

Yanjiao, only 30 kilometers away, has been dubbed the “town of sleep” because its residents often work in Beijing and return to sleep there at night. The town has 600,000 residents, a majority of whom work in Beijing.

The new rail routes came as welcome news to commuters in Yanjiao, many of whom said they will finally be spared the trouble of being crammed on overloaded buses. By 9 p.m. Sunday, all Monday morning train tickets to Beijing had been sold out, according to official statistics.

But the public remains divided on the issue.

via “High-speed train tribe” grows with China’s expanding rail network – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

15/12/2014

The Chinese Military’s Response to Unannounced Drones: Blow ‘Em Out of the Sky – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Earlier this year, a court in suburban Beijing said it was preparing to try employees of a Chinese drone company on charges of “negligently endangering public safety” after an unmanned aircraft disrupted commercial flights and led the air force to scramble helicopters in response.

The drone flight in question happened on Dec. 29, 2013, in the eastern Beijing suburb of Pinggu. Operated by employees of Beijing UAV Sci-Tech Co., the drone forced several commercial flights to alter their flight paths and caused others to be delayed. According to reports in October, the People’s Liberation Army dispatched helicopters to force the drone down.

In Sunday’s report, the People’s Liberation Army Daily said the drone was in fact shot out of the air.

The shooting came after an unidentified object showed up on military radar, according to the report. Air force commanders ordered several regiments to prepare for battle and dispatched six ground teams to the area where the object was detected. Minutes later, the air force identified the object as a small aircraft and immediately notified the Beijing Military Area Command, as well as the public security bureaus in Beijing and neighboring Hebei province.

A military helicopter was dispatched to investigate further. “The drone continued to ignore warnings and fly in the direction of  Beijing Capital Airport,” the newspaper said. “The Beijing Air Force commander made a firm decision: Avoid densely populated areas and use a shotgun to bring the target down.” (It wasn’t clear from the report what sort of weapon that would be, leaving China Real Time to wonder whether they used a shotgun-like weapon attached to the helicopter or whether a crewmember popped off a 12 gauge through an open window.)

After the helicopter opened fire, the drone fell. As the helicopter descended to check on the drone, it discovered the three operators next to a car. The trio and their car were immediately taken into custody, the newspaper said.

via The Chinese Military’s Response to Unannounced Drones: Blow ‘Em Out of the Sky – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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