Archive for the Transportation Category

Beijing has world’s most delayed airport [People’s Daily]

Posted in Beijing, China, Japan, Shanghai, Tourism, Transportation, USA on July 22, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

July 11, 2013

Flying to and from Beijing? Bring your patience. The city’s aviation hub remains the most delayed international airport in the world.

Beijing Capital International Airport ranked bottom in the on-time performance report in June, with just 18.3 percent of commercial passenger flights leaving on schedule. Shanghai Pudong International Airport reported the second worst departure record at 28.72 percent, among 35 major international airports.

The report was released by FlightStats, a US service that tracks historical and real-time flight information around the globe.

Tokyo’s Haneda maintained its top spot, with an on-time performance of 95.04 percent.

A flight is considered “on time” if it arrives or departs within 15 minutes after its scheduled take-off or landing time.

There have been different voices from China’s industry insiders over air traffic volume as the cause of flight delays.

Civil aviation occupied only 20 percent of air traffic in China, with 80 percent of the flow for military use, while the situation in the US was the opposite, said Wang Junjin, president of Juneyao Airlines in Shanghai.

China’s air space would be crowded with just over 10,000 operating flights per day, but over 60,000 operating flights per day compete to fly in the US and could still maintain order, Wang added.

An opposing view says air traffic should not be blamed for flight delays. China’s airports couldn’t keep up with the growth of commercial aircrafts, said Zou Jianjun, an associate professor at the Civil Aviation Management Institute of China.

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China’s former railways minister Liu Zhijun sentenced to suspended death for bribery, abuse of power [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Corruption, Law enforcement, State-owned Enterprise (SOE), Transportation on July 11, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, July 8 (Xinhua) — China’s former railways minister Liu Zhijun was sentenced death penalty with a two-year reprieve here on Monday for bribery and abuse of power.

The Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court announced the verdict of the first instance.

The court sentenced Liu to death with a two-year reprieve, deprived his political rights for life and confiscated all his personal property for taking bribes. Liu was also sentenced to 10 years in jail for abuse of power, according to the court verdict.

The combined punishment for Liu’s crimes is death penalty with a two-year reprieve, deprival of political rights for life, and confiscation of all personal property, the court said.

The court found that from 1986 to 2011, Liu took advantage of his positions as official of local railway authorities as well as the former Ministry of Railways, and helped 11 people, Shao Liping and Ding Yuxin included, win promotions, project contracts, and cargo transportation contracts. He accepted 64.6 million yuan (10.53 million U.S. dollars) in bribes from them during this period.

During his tenure as railways minister, Liu helped Ding Yuxin and her relatives to win cargo transportation contracts and railway construction contracts. He also helped them in the acquisition of shares in a bullet train wheel set company, and with enterprise financing, by breaking regulations and applying favoritism, which allowed Ding and her family to reap huge profits and inflicted colossal losses in the public assets, violating rights and interests of the state and the people.

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See also the longer, more exhaustive article “Liu Zhijun given suspended death penalty for bribery, power abuse” [Xinhua] –

Why are there far more Chinese than Koreans on ROK crashed plane? [Xinhua]

Posted in China, south Korea, Transportation, USA on July 9, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

This is reminding me of an unpleasant travel experience flying from northern China to the US on Korean Air, passing through Incheon. A local person with no travel experience booked the flight for me and it was hands down the worst China-US flight I’ve ever had, mostly because of the excessive length of time the overall trip entailed; the stopover in the Incheon airport was several hours and now I see the place as an annex of hell. Any south Korean airline and the Incheon airport would both be last resorts for any future travel. – Zuo Shou

By Han Lin

BEIJING, July 8 (Xinhuanet) — An aircraft of the Republic of Korea (ROK) flying from Seoul to San Francisco crashed on Saturday, which killed two Chinese. On board, there are 291 passengers, including 141 Chinese, 77 S Koreans and 61 Americans.

People can’t help wondering why there are so many Chinese passengers on a Korean airline?

For a long time, through making Seoul into an international hub, ROK has been making efforts to attract Chinese transit passengers by low ticket prices and attractive transit visa-free policy, China Business News(CBN), a Chinese newspaper, reported.

According to the investigation of CBN, many Chinese passengers on the crashed plane of Asiana Airlines Inc. ROK’s No. 2 flag carrier, firstly flied [sic] from Shanghai to Seoul, and then to San Francisco.

“Of the flights between China and U.S., the ticket prices of transit flight of ROK airlines are far more cheaper than prices of non-stop flight of Chinese and American airlines. So a lot of Chinese passengers who fly to America prefer to choosing ROK as a transit center. ” an aviation insider told the media on condition of anonymity.

According to Ctrip, the largest air-ticketing agency in China, there are only China Eastern , Air China Ltd and United Airlines that have non-stop flight from Shanghai to San Francisco. And their ticket prices are more expansive than Asiana Airlines.

The lowest ticket price of direct flight is 8,810 yuan (1,437 U.S. Dollars, free of tax) from Shanghai to San Francisco on July 15. The most expansive [sic] price is almost 20,000 yuan (3,262 dollars). But the transit flight price of Asiana Airlines is only 5100 yuan (832 dollars).

Similarly, the lowest ticket price of non-stop flight is 8810 yuan (1,437 U.S. Dollars)on August 7. And the price of Asiana Airlines is 6,560 yuan (1,070 dollars), at least 2,250 yuan (367 dollars) less.

It’s worth noting that the ROK government gives supports to build international hubs from a variety of policies. From May 1st, International passengers from the 107 listed countries transferring in Seoul are granted 30-day visa-free transit stay.

However in Shanghai, international passengers only enjoy 72-hour visa-free transit stay and the listed countries are 45.

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Former railways minister expelled from Party for corruption [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Corruption, CPC, Transportation on May 29, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, May 28 (Xinhua) — China’s former railways minister, Liu Zhijun, has been expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) after being found guilty of corruption, the CPC disciplinary watchdog announced on Monday.

Liu, also former Party chief of the Railways Ministry, had been under investigation since February 2011, when he was removed from his position on suspicion of “serious disciplinary violations.”

Investigators found Liu used his position to seek huge illegal interests for Ding Yuxin, chairman of Beijing Boyou Investment Management Corporation, maneuvering which caused great economic losses and negative social influence, according to a statement issued by the CPC’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).

The CCDI also discovered Liu, who the statement labeled “morally corrupted,” had taken a huge amount of bribes and bore the major responsibility for severe corruption in the railways system.

Liu’s behavior seriously violated the CPC’s discipline, and the decision to expel him from the Party was made in accordance with the CPC’s regulations and approved by the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, the statement explained.

It is suspected that some of Liu’s discipline violations may have included criminal acts, so his case will also be turned over to judicial organs, it said, adding that Liu’s illegal gains have been confiscated.

The public has long criticized China’s railways system as being poorly managed, especially during peak times.

Liu’s removal is also believed to be linked to the high-speed train collision last July that killed 40 passengers and injured 172 others, the tragedy having been blamed on improper management.

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The struggle in China: Capitalist crisis versus planning [Workers World]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Corruption, CPC, Deng Xiaoping, Economy, Hong Kong, Income gap, Marx, Reform and opening up, Social Security system, south Korea, Taiwan, Transportation, Universal Health Care on March 30, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Fred Goldstein
Published Mar 27, 2012 11:42 PM

The following is Part 2 of a series on the leadership struggle in China.

As contradictions mount in the global capitalist economy, they are reflected in China. The factional struggle in the Chinese leadership can only be understood as a struggle over which way to go forward and how to contain and resolve the mounting economic and social contradictions arising out of capitalist development.

The Chinese economy has been growing on a dual basis. First, it is based on centrally planned guidance designed to develop the productive forces and the material foundations for a society encompassing 1.3 billion people. However, since the victory of Deng Xiaoping and the “capitalist road” faction in 1978, planning has been increasingly based on the central government fostering and attempting to manage capitalism and the capitalist market as the means for national development.

The central government, through control of interest rates, credit, taxation and vast state-owned enterprises, both guides the economy toward broad economic and social goals and fosters capitalist development. The latter means class exploitation, inequality and corruption. The present political struggle is over which side of this contradiction to strengthen.

This complex subject will be discussed at length in subsequent articles. But suffice it to say that the so-called “reform” groupings in China — with the enthusiastic support of world imperialism and global finance capital — want to move away from state intervention, planning and central guidance and go further toward turning the fate of China over to the capitalist market, both internally and externally.

In our last article we covered the fact that Bo Xilai was summarily ousted from his post as Chinese Communist Party Secretary of Chongqing. This was a blow against the growing forces in the CCP and throughout China who want to combine the use of the capitalist market with social and economic planning and state intervention in order to deal with growing inequality and who emphasize the needs of the masses. In Bo’s case, this economic orientation was combined with a popular attempt to revive Maoist culture and socialist values.

In China today, the concept of planned guidance of the broad direction of the economy and its various sectors is a drastic modification from the direct economic planning initiated after the triumph of the great Chinese Revolution in 1949. At the same time, it is an attempt to retain the planning principle as the fundamental framework guiding the overall development of the Chinese economy.

Consider just some of the goals and objectives outlined by the 12th Five Year Plan for 2011-2015, and the antagonism between planning and the anarchy of the capitalist market becomes utterly transparent. This plan was developed beginning in October 2010 and was approved by the National People’s Congress in March 2011.

The government is planning to devote 4 trillion renminbi ($158.7 billion) to the development of seven Strategic Emerging Industries: biotechnology, new energy, high-end manufacturing equipment, energy conservation and environmental protection, clean-energy vehicles and next-generation internet technology. (APCO worldwide, Dec. 10, 2010)

An article in the March 4, 2011, New York Times detailed the plan’s goals, including:

* A 19.1 percent cut in the amount of energy used per unit of economic growth and a rapid expansion of the service economy.

* Building a national nanotechnology research center, 50 engineering centers, 32 national engineering laboratories and 56 other labs focusing on technologies like digital television and high-speed internet.

* Laying 621,000 miles of new fiber-optic cable and adding 35 million new broadband ports for a total of 223 million.

* A cap on total energy use, especially limiting the burning of coal.

* The development of well-equipped statistical and monitoring systems to gauge greenhouse gas emissions.

* Accelerated construction of sewage treatment plants, the retrofitting of coal-fired power plants with pollution controls, and the continuation of a pilot project to develop low-carbon cities.

In the previous period the state had opened 3,100 miles of new railroads and 74,600 miles of highways, completed 230,000 sports and fitness projects for rural residents, and built or renovated 891 hospitals and 1,228 health clinics.

In the realm of social welfare, the broad goals are to increase consumption from 35 percent of the gross domestic product to between 50 percent and 55 percent by increasing minimum wages, health care services and social welfare payments of various kinds.

Of course, it goes without saying that under a genuinely socialist government, workers would have their fundamental economic rights guaranteed as political rights. But those rights were largely overturned by the reforms that developed in China after 1978. Instead, in the environment of the capitalist market — with its mountains of corruption of government and party officials — the welfare of the workers and peasants has to be built up slowly and painfully through an uphill battle, which happens only through the intervention of the state. (More on this in future articles.)

Whether or not the government achieves the precise goals set out is not the issue. The point is that such sweeping social and economic goals could not possibly be handed over to profit-driven capitalists and the anarchy of the commodity market. The bosses would seek the highest rate of profit. They would never voluntarily raise wages, improve working conditions, build hospitals, clinics, rural fitness centers or anything that did not bring a profit.

– China’s response to 2008-09 world capitalist crisis –

To grasp the seriousness of the proposals to further limit planning and intervention by the state, it is only necessary to consider what happened during the world capitalist financial and economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, when the global crisis of capitalist overproduction and the financial collapse invaded China.

More than 20 million workers lost their jobs, mainly in manufacturing and predominantly in coastal provinces such as Guangdong, where special economic zones had been set up so imperialist corporations, companies from Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea, and other exploiters could take advantage of low-wage migrant labor flooding in from the rural interior.

During this period production of world capitalism dropped more than it had in 70 years. Tens of millions of workers worldwide were thrown onto unemployment lines. Most of them are still there. Bankruptcy followed bankruptcy, and the capitalist system has still not recovered.

What happened in China? When the crisis hit, China’s central planners went into motion. Plans drafted as far back as 2003 to go into effect in future years were pushed forward and implemented.

Nicholas Lardy, a bourgeois China expert from the prestigious Peterson Institute for International Economics, describes how consumption in China actually grew during the crisis of 2008-09, wages went up, and the government created enough jobs to compensate for the layoffs caused by the global crisis:

“In a year in which GDP expansion [in China] was the slowest in almost a decade, how could consumption growth in 2009 have been so strong in relative terms? How could this happen at a time when employment in export-oriented industries was collapsing, with a survey conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture reporting the loss of 20 million jobs in export manufacturing centers along the southeast coast, notably in Guangdong Province? The relatively strong growth of consumption in 2009 is explained by several factors. First, the boom in investment, particularly in construction activities, appears to have generated additional employment sufficient to offset a very large portion of the job losses in the export sector. For the year as a whole the Chinese economy created 11.02 million jobs in urban areas, very nearly matching the 11.13 million urban jobs created in 2008.

“Second, while the growth of employment slowed slightly, wages continued to rise. In nominal terms wages in the formal sector rose 12 percent, a few percentage points below the average of the previous five years (National Bureau of Statistics of China 2010f, 131). In real terms the increase was almost 13 percent. Third, the government continued its programs of increasing payments to those drawing pensions and raising transfer payments to China’s lowest-income residents. Monthly pension payments for enterprise retirees increased by RMB120, or 10 percent, in January 2009, substantially more than the 5.9 percent increase in consumer prices in 2008. This raised the total payments to retirees by about RMB75 billion. The Ministry of Civil Affairs raised transfer payments to about 70 million of China’s lowest-income citizens by a third, for an increase of RMB20 billion in 2009 (Ministry of Civil Affairs 2010).” (“Sustaining China’s Economic Growth after the Global Financial Crisis,” Kindle Locations 664-666, Peterson Institute for International Economics)

The Ministry of Railroads introduced eight specific plans, to be completed in 2020, to be implemented in the crisis. The World Bank called it “perhaps the biggest single planned program of passenger rail investment there has ever been in one country.” In addition, ultra-high-voltage grid projects were undertaken, among other advances.

The lesson is that while the anarchy of production of world capitalism invaded China, the rational and meticulously developed plans drawn up for social use overcame the anarchy of the capitalist market. This not only protected the masses from a protracted, massive unemployment crisis, but it actually continued the process of raising the standard of living during a time when hundreds of millions of workers throughout the entire capitalist world were left helpless and traumatized by the crisis of capitalist overproduction.

In Marxist terms the principle of planning, established by the Chinese socialist revolution of 1949 — even though it has been watered down to the practice of “guidance” — overcame what Marx called the law of labor value, the very law that governs the operation of capitalism itself. The Chinese leaders were compelled, and had the capability, to use rational planning based on satisfying human need to overcome the disaster brought about by their own policy of relying on the world capitalist market.

To be continued.

Goldstein is the author of “Low-Wage Capitalism” (2008) and “Capitalism at a Dead End” (2012) published by World View Forum. Both books as well as his articles and speeches can be found at
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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Leung wins Hong Kong election by wide margin [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Corruption, Hong Kong, Housing, Income gap, Transportation on March 27, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Zhao Qian and Miranda Shek (Global Times)
March 26, 2012

Leung Chun-ying, a former government adviser who pledged to protect local residents’ interests, won Sunday’s election to become the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s (SAR) fourth-term chief executive.

The 57-year-old, British-educated real-estate surveyor won 689 of 1,132 valid votes cast by members of the 1,200-member Election Committee. He beat Henry Tang, former secretary of administration, and Albert Ho, Democratic Party leader, by wide margins.

Leung had dedicated his election campaign to protecting the rights of Hong Kong residents, including tough policies to control the city’s runaway property prices and banning pregnant mothers from the mainland from giving birth at local public hospitals.

At the press conference after winning the poll, he reaffirmed his election pledges to build more public housing and promised to only sell homes to Hong Kong residents when the market becomes over-heated.

Leung also promised to speed up construction of the city’s infrastructure and railway systems. His term will begin July 1 when Donald Tsang Yam-kuen completes his second term as the city’s chief executive.

Leung was born into an ordinary family. His father was a police officer. After completing his studies in the UK, he went back to Hong Kong in 1977 to work as a property surveyor.

At age 31, Leung was appointed to draft the city’s Basic Law in 1986, and in 1999 he took up the post of convener of the Non-Official Members of the Executive Council of Hong Kong.

“Livelihood issues, including soaring property prices and the widening wealth gap, could be the major challenges for Leung during his tenure,” Zhang Dinghuai, a professor at the Contemporary Chinese Politics Research Institute at Shenzhen University, told the Global Times.

Zhang noted that Hong Kong could rely on the fast economic growth momentum of the mainland and seize a good opportunity to boost its economy.

The central government’s supportive policies, including setting up an offshore renminbi center in Hong Kong, could benefit the region’s development, said Zhang.

Bernard Yip, a political commentator and politics professor at Hong Kong University, told the Global Times that by only securing 689 votes, Leung will have a difficult time winning support from local residents.

“Hong Kong is going through a tough period as the election campaign revealed a lot of corruption suspicion toward the current chief executive and Henry Tang,” Yip said. “Leung needs to rebuild the public confidence in Hong Kong’s governance.”

Tang’s popularity was dealt a huge blow after he admitted to building a basement under his villa without government permits. Local media also reported that he did not pay his real estate taxes.

Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, the current chief executive, is under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). He is the first chief executive to be suspected of corruption during his tenure.

About 2,000 people protested outside the election site Sunday, according to Reuters.

Eric Lai, spokesman for the Civil Human Rights Front, which organized the protest, said they did not want a selective committee to choose Hong Kong’s leader for them, and they needed universal suffrage.

But Ji Shuoming, a senior commentator of Asiaweek based in Hong Kong, told the Global Times that “the relatively lower votes for Leung could also be ascribed to more candidates this time than previous elections.”

Ji noted that the number of election committee members expanding from the previous 800 to the current 1,200, as well as more candidates being allowed to stand, all paved the way for universal suffrage in 2017.

The central government has said universal suffrage can start from the election of the Hong Kong chief executive in 2017 and for the legislature in 2020.

Zhang said that Hong Kong residents have the right to express different opinions, but they did not realize that universal suffrage has already been approved by the central government, and the SAR is now gradually moving toward the ultimate aim of universal suffrage.

“On Hong Kong’s constitutional development, both the central and local governments are fully committed to promoting constitutional development in accordance with the Basic Law, with a view to achieving the ultimate aim of universal suffrage,” a spokesman of the SAR government said in November.

“The SAR government has made it clear that the future universal suffrage models should comply with the Basic Law and the principles of universality and equality. The community has sufficient time to reach a consensus on issues relating to the implementation of universal suffrage in future,” the spokesman said, according to Xinhua News Agency.

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China’s aviation industry to take ‘gutter oil’ as biofuel [People’s Daily]

Posted in Alternative Energy, China, Energy, Hangzhou, Transportation on March 22, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Tu Lufang (Beijing Daily)

March 01, 2012

Edited and translated by People’s Daily Online

On Feb. 28, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) began reviewing the airworthiness of the No.1 Aviation Biofuel which is China’s first independently developed aviation biofuel product.

The biofuel product is developed by Sinopec, the country’s top oil refiner.

Sinopec began laboratory research on the No.1 Aviation Biofuel in 2009, and transformed its Hangzhou Refinery into a plant with an actual annual output of 6,000 tons after key breakthroughs achieved in the research project in 2011. The plant has been in smooth operation, and produced about 70 tons of aviation biofuel since its operation on Dec. 12, 2011.

During the review process, the CAAC will conduct a series of laboratory performance tests, compatibility tests, and test flights according to international standards. The CAAC will grant Sinopec the approval to use the biofuel in commercial civil aviation, after it is proven safe for aircraft.

The No.1 Aviation Biofuel is made from a variety of animal fat and vegetable oil and oils with Sinopec’s unique hydrogenation technology, catalyst system, and production procedures. Currently, the company is actively seeking new raw materials to produce aviation biofuel, including waste cooking oil and seaweeds.

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