Archive for the Auto Category

Wuhan citizens awarded 5 million yuan for taping traffic violators [People’s Daily]

Posted in Auto, China, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Traffic on March 7, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Please, start this program in my city in China and let foreigners do it!  I will be most dedicated! – Zuo Shou 左手


A videographer is taping traffic violators on an overpass.
Last year, Wuhan government began rewarding citizens for recording traffic violations on tape, and hundreds of people received around 5 million yuan in total from the local government under the program.

Citizens who tape traffic violations are usually called "unofficial traffic police," and they play a very important role in the management of traffic order.  Although some cities, including Shanghai and Guangzhou, have cancelled such a reward policy, Wuhan is determined to continue.

An official from Wuhan’s traffic administration said the city insists on adopting such a method to limit traffic accidents by encouraging citizens to tape illegal behavior on the road.

15 cases of traffic violations within 10 minutes

On Feb. 26, one citizen took his camera with him to an overpass in Wuhan and started shooting traffic violations occurring under his feet.  In the span of 10 minutes, he recorded 15 violations in all.

The 28-year-old man, surnamed Zhang, works freelance.  He says he is doing this not only to make money but also out of resentment toward those illegal drivers.  One of his good friends fell victim to a car that ran a red light. Continue reading

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13 crimes removed from China’s death penalty list [People’s Daily]

Posted in Auto, China, Energy, Environmental protection, Law enforcement on March 2, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

February 27, 2011

China’s newly revised Criminal Law eliminated the death penalty for 13 economy-related crimes, as the country moved to restructure its penalty system and better protect human rights.

Fifty-five crimes are now punishable by death, according to the eighth Amendment to the Criminal Law, which was discussed and passed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) at a bimonthly session that closed on Friday.

The amendment marks the first time since the Criminal Law took effect in 1979 that the country has reduced the number of crimes subject to the death penalty.

"The 13 crimes that have been exempted from the death penalty are mainly economic and non-violent crimes," Lang Sheng, vice-chairman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, said at a press conference following the three-day session.

Crimes that are exempt from capital punishment include tax fraud and "fraudulent activities involving financial bills".  Also wiped from the list are offences involving the smuggling of cultural relics or of precious and rare animals.

Lang said the amendment aims to "temper justice with mercy". Continue reading

“Why I’m afraid of driving” – in Beijing [People’s Daily / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Auto, Beijing, Belgium, China, Corruption, Netherlands, Transportation on February 25, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

The circumstances described here only became worse after the Chinese government implemented a car-buying stimulus plan to pump up domestic consumption after the recent global economic collapse.  Most Chinese cities’ civil-planning had never taken massive fleets of vehicles on the roads into account.  The result of the stimulus was demonstrably intensified urban traffic congestion, which in turn worsened an already dangerously chronic tendency of Chinese drivers to scoff-law and makes law enforcement, already next to impossible, even more difficult.  I have witnessed most of the harrowing driving malfeasance anecdotes listed here and have experienced and seen other driving behaviors that many Western people could hardly conceive possible.  Like the author, I have no inclination to get behind the wheel on a Chinese road. – Zuo Shou 左手

December 17, 2009

I’ve been driving for almost 15 years in a number of countries with both left-hand and right-hand traffic flows.  But I remain apprehensive about driving in this city.

The army of licensed drivers now stands at 5.7 million, with one in three having less than two years experience on the roads.

While Beijing wants to sell more cars to boost the economy as well as meeting middle-class aspirations for car ownership, new drivers are unleashed on to its already congested roads at a staggering rate of 10,000 per week.

If you walk, you’ll probably need to be more skillful in dodging cars at street crossings.  If you drive, you should always be alert to new drivers who might often forget to signal before changing lanes or appear out of nowhere to cut in ahead of you.

If somebody does suddenly stop ahead of you, try to be calm.  He or she might just be looking for an address, or ready to back up in front of you after missing their exit.

One young colleague told me that after half a year on the road, she had already had three accidents, including two scrapes on the road and one rear-end collision in a public parking lot.

Even worse, new drivers are not the only people responsible for reckless and dangerous driving behaviors.  Some experienced motorists tend to have low respect for the law, which is exacerbated by a lack of integrity of law enforcement.

We probably all have the experience of having to control our adrenaline rush when a tailgating black Audi or Passat with pitch dark windows – the typical official vehicle – keeps honking or turns on the siren to nudge us out of its way.  Sometimes, we wonder why some cars can make an illegal turn or run a red light on main streets, while the police pretend not to see.

There are two popular theories on traffic that can help us understand driving behavior.  The first is related to GDP, which basically says that when people become richer, the roads will be safer because they pay more attention to safety.  The second gauges a nation’s driving behavior by its level of corruption. Continue reading

Bumpy road ahead for car sales – as Beijing restricts new cars [People’s Daily]

Posted in Auto, Beijing, China, Economy, Environmental protection, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Shanghai, USA, WTO on January 29, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

January 14, 2011

Automakers shift gear to focus efforts on smaller cities after capital applies the brakes.  Li Fangfang in Beijing reports.

Car salesman Liu Jun enjoyed the best time of his career in December.  After shifting 19 cars in the first 23 days, he was already looking ahead to lavishing his family with expensive gifts at Spring Festival.

Less than one month later, the 25-year-old is fighting to keep his job.

Since Christmas Eve, the day after Beijing announced strict measures to limit the number of new cars in the capital, Liu has not received even one prospective buyer, let alone signed any contracts.

His showroom in Beijing’s Chaoyang district, which sells China-made Chery models, could “encounter its first single-digit monthly sales before Chinese New Year”, said the salesman, who started in the industry four years ago.

“We’ve heard the store will lay off 60 to 70 percent of its sales staff after the holiday,” added Liu.

To ease the gridlock, city authorities will now issue just 20,000 new vehicle license plates a month, meaning annual sales will plunge from 891,000 units in 2010 to 240,000 units in 2011.

The unexpected curb on China’s largest vehicle market is a major bump in the road for automakers, especially as some 20 other cities with chronic congestion are watching on with keen interest.  However, industry experts predict the big players will likely adapt by focusing more on smaller cities further inland.

“The best and most efficient way for automakers to offset the declined sales in Beijing and maybe other first-tier cities in the near future is to rapidly shift their dealer network expansion inland,” said Zhong Shi, an independent analyst in Beijing.

By the end of last September, China’s total vehicle capacity was 70 million units, lower than the 75 million in Japan and 285 million in the United States, according to the Ministry of Public Security statistics.

However, most of the country’s vehicles run on roads in large cities and coastal areas, as 300 second- and third-tier cities of 2 million people or less still have low car capacity.

“There is still huge potential for car consumption in China’s small cities, as well as rural markets,” added Zhong.

Geared for change

Data provided by the State Information Center shows that when it comes to car ownership in metropolises like Beijing and Shanghai, the average is about 200 vehicles for every 1,000 people.  In most second- and third-tier cities, that number drops to 100, while for 20 of the country’s 34 provinces and autonomous regions, the average is no more than 30 automobiles for every 1,000 people.

In eastern Shandong province, for example, the two largest vehicle markets – Jinan, the capital, and Qingdao – reported sales growth of 58 percent in 2009, while smaller cities like Weifang saw a sales surge by 91 percent year-on-year.

“China’s fast-growing urbanization also indicates that, in the near future, second- and third-tier cities will be the major power driving auto sales,” said Xu Changming at the State Information Center.

Continue reading

Coal and cars combine to increase pollution in North China [People’s Daily]

Posted in Auto, Beijing, China, Energy, Environmental protection on December 13, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

December 8, 2010

Experts blame coal-fired heating in winter in most northern parts of China for worsening pollution.

Most monitored cities in northern China have been suffering from slightly polluted air. For instance, the average air pollution index (API) for Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, reached 111 on Tuesday, figures from the environment authorities showed.

Air quality has been worse since winter, with Beijing’s API reaching 199, while the index in the Olympic Sports Center rocketed to 305 on Thursday, according to figures released on Friday by the Beijing municipal environmental protection bureau.

An API reading below 50 indicates “excellent” air quality, while 50 to 100 shows “healthy” air and above 100 means that the air is polluted.

When the index exceeds 300, the air is severely polluted and harmful to people’s health.

Zhu Tong, an environmental professor at Peking University, told China Daily that heating by burning coal contributes greatly to the worsening air quality, because the amount of pollutants released by coal burning increases dramatically in winter.

Coal burning is a common heating method in northern China during winter.

The lack of wind in winter helped pollutants caused by coal burning and vehicle exhaust emissions to stay in the air, Zhu said.

“Due to the dry winter and coal burning, haze and smog often form in northern areas during the heating season,” said Sun Simin, chief representative for Asia-Pacific of the Clean Air Task Force, a United States-based nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing atmospheric pollution.

On Tuesday, the number of particles fit for breathing reached 0.194 milligrams per cubic meter in Baotou, an industrial city in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region in North China, according to the latest data released by the China National Environmental Monitoring Center on Tuesday afternoon.

Since Nov 25, the center has published online air-quality information for 113 major cities across the country, with the levels of sulfur, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter updated every hour.

In Beijing, a housing area of about 200 million square meters needs heating with coal in winter, Gao Xinyu, director of the energy resource department with the Beijing municipal commission of development and reform, said on Oct 26.

The city’s coal consumption during the heating season is about 19.4 kilograms a square meter, Gao Hongrui, manager of the Chengdong Heating Center in Shunyi district, Beijing, told Xinhua News Agency in 2009.

It is calculated that Beijing needs nearly 4 million tons of coal for heating during winter, and every ton of standard coal can release about 2.7 tons of carbon dioxide and 8.5 kg of sulfur dioxide.

Coal is used to produce 80 percent of China’s energy, which means that it has become a major contributor to the country’s worsening air quality, Sun said.

A report released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection in early November showed motor vehicle exhaust emissions had become the main contributor to worsening air pollution in big Chinese cities as the country undergoes a surge in car sales.

During the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing operated under traffic restrictions to ensure good air quality for the event.

To alleviate air pollution, Beijing is expected to close all its coal-fired power plants in the next five years and invest about 30 billion yuan ($4.5 billion) on setting up a gas heating system, China Economic Weekly reported in October.

By Wang Qian, China Daily

Article link:

Car exhaust hazard spreading in China [Xinhua]

Posted in Alternative Energy, Auto, China, Economy, Environmental protection on November 22, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, Nov. 10 (Xinhuanet) — As the world’s biggest carmaker and consumer of automobiles since 2009, China has seen car exhaust fumes quickly rise to become the biggest polluter in major cities. How to reduce air pollution from exhaust gases has become the toughest challenge Chins has to take.

For the first time, the Ministry of Environmental Protection has published the figures of motor vehicle exhaust emissions. The total amount of fumes discharged from motor vehicles in 2009 was more than 50 million tons, and of the 113 key cities for environmental protection, the air quality of one third does not reach the required standard. Acid rains and heavy smog occur frequently in some major cities.

Compared with the early 1980s when reform and opening-up were first launched, the total number of motor vehicles has increased by 25 times and reached 170 million in 2009. The more than 40 million tons of carbon dioxide, nearly 5 million tons of hydrocarbon, 5.8 million tons of hydro-nitrogen and 59 tons of floating particles, along with the gases produced by the burning of coal, have made it ever more difficult to reduce air pollution.

The automobile industry has contributed a great deal to the country’s economic growth and to the improving of people’s living standards. It is now one of the most important pillars of the country’s industry.

And in the past decade, standards for car exhaustion emission have been upgraded from level one to level three. The amount of fumes discharged from new cars with small capacity engines manufactured in 2009 decreased by 90 percent, compared with the cars of the same type manufactured in 2000.

However, the number of motor vehicles is still rapidly increasing. The total cars manufactured and sold surpassed 13 million from January to September this year. The total number of cars will reach 200 million nationwide by 2020.

Undoubtedly, the pressure is growing to deal with air pollution caused by exhaust fumes discharged from cars.

Apart from upgrading technology to reduce the amount of fumes emitted from cars and the manufacture of motor vehicles using alternative fuels, it is undoubtedly necessary to intensify publicity to bring home the awareness of environmental protection among citizens.

At the same time, governments at all levels need to have incentive policies to encourage residents to use public transit and other environmentally friendly transport, such as bicycles. More investment also needs to be put into public transport to make it easier for residents to travel by bus or by subway.

Urban planners must change their mentality and stop repeatedly widening roads to make room for motor vehicles. Instead, more money and efforts must be shifted to public transport means. That is the way to achieve cleaner air in cities.

(Source: China Daily)

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/indepth/2010-11/10/c_13599866.htm

Beijing steers citizens away from private cars [People’s Daily]

Posted in Auto, Beijing, China, CPC, Transportation on October 23, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

October 15, 2010

The Party Committee of Beijing City recently convened to discuss measures to further promote the development of transportation in the capital city and ease traffic congestion.

The meeting aims to give priority to the development of public transit through increased efforts to encourage people to use eco-friendly means to travel.

It was noted at the meeting that the city will guide the rational use of passenger cars and improve the carrying capacity of road networks by increasing investment in constructions of reduced-traffic blocks and transportation infrastructure.

Continue reading