Written By Lee Norris
Are the Chinese all getting cars? The Chinese stimulus package does not say so. With the Chinese economy hit hard by the world wide recession, the Chinese government is making the move away from the automobile as a main source of transportation. They are spending more on passenger rail lines and less on highways. The problems of the automobile in China are enormous. Pollution caused by the automobiles in the major cities is unbearable and a major concern. Traffic jams and automobile accidents are commonplace. Besides, The majority of the population cannot move from the lower to the middle classes where they can not afford a car.
The world wide recession has hit China. No one in China questions the urgent need for spending on large scale public projects. China has drafted the largest economic stimulus plans in the world and with few debts and a small deficit, the Chinese government is making moves to decrease their dependence on the automobile and foreign oil. They are spending less money on highways and more on passenger rail lines. Huge project are underway such as $17.6 billion being spent on a passenger rail line across the Northwest Desert and $24 billion being spent on a high speed rail line from Beijing to Guangzhou, which is around 1,400 miles. Another $88 billion is being spent on inter city rail lines in cities across China.
In China, you can take the train, but you still need a bike for the short trips. China is still the largest bicycle-using country in the world, and the bicycle isn’t going away any time soon. There are an estimated half billion bicycles in China. In communities and cities all over China, goods are moved and services are still delivered by bicycles. China leads the world in production of bicycles by making over 60% of the bicycles produced in the world. Nine out to ten bicycles sold in the United States were manufactured in China.