The Nanfang / Blog

The Days This Month When Beijing Traffic Will Become Downright Awful

Posted: 09/2/2014 1:00 pm

beijing traffic jam gridlockLong ago, benevolent leaders in China would inform their subjects of which days of the year were optimal for sowing seeds and harvesting crops. That tradition continues in 2014, but the focus has changed to something much more modern: now leaders are informing citizens which days to avoid Beijing traffic.

While the capital is already infamous for its traffic congestion, September is expected to be absolute worst month due to the Mid-Autumn Festival, National Day, the beginning of the school year, fall promotions in malls, and visiting relatives.

In fact, the Beijing Municipal Commission on Transport can even pinpoint particular days to avoid. They are September 4, 5, 15, 22, 26 and 28, 29 and 30.

To try to combat the girdlock, local authorities will be trying a bunch of different strategies including launching a Public Transportation Promotion Week, No Car Days, new private bus lines, and shortening the length between subway cars to just three minutes on Beijing Metro Line 6 between 5pm and 7pm,

[h/t WSJ China Real Time]

Photo: etu6


[Photos] Brand New Train Station Roof in Hebei “Leaks Like a Waterfall”

Posted: 08/29/2014 2:27 pm

shijiazhuang train station leaky roof 01Chinese modern architecture can be counted upon to be grand, austere, and usually resembling some kind of kitchen utensil. And if the brand-new Shijiazhuang Railway Station is an indication of a trend, Chinese buildings are also built to be leaky.

READ: Shenzhen’s brand new airport already leaking

In the case of the Shijiazhuang Railway Station, “leaky” may not quite capture what is happening. Netizens posted pictures last night showing a torrent of water spraying from the railway station ceiling, covering a large section of the passenger hall.

shijiazhuang train station leaky roof 01

To be fair, a record rainfall hit Shijiazhuang at that time. The rain was so severe it flooded roads and delayed flights and trains. And yet, if you were a resident of the capitial of Hebei that night, you wouldn’t be able to find shelter from the storm at its brand new train station.

Here are some more pictures:

shijiazhuang train station leaky roof 01shijiazhuang train station leaky roof 01shijiazhuang train station leaky roofshijiazhuang train station leaky roof 01shijiazhuang train station leaky roofshijiazhuang train station leaky roof 01

Instilling a respect for the natural environment, the leaky Shijiazhuang Railway Station has inspired a hashtag on Weibo named after the Water Curtain Cave in Shanxi Province. While it appears to be an appropriate enough name, the visual similarities are there as well.

shuiliandong water curtain cave


Photos: Dongguan Times, Sina Hebei, 761


Whole Fleet of New, Safe School Buses Become Public Toilets in Zhejiang

Posted: 08/29/2014 9:45 am

abandoned school buses zhejiangCould this be another sign of over-investment in China, or the economy slowing down? A whole fleet of school buses, 52 to be exact, have been left abandoned at a lot in Wenling, Zhejiang Province. They’ve been sitting there, rotting, for a year because nobody is willing to buy them.

The buses were actually purchased by a group in Taizhou, Anhui Province for RMB 20 million. The group originally intended to start up a school bus company in Wenling, but the idea was abandoned after they realized nobody wanted the buses, according to the Yangtse Evening Report.

Since then, the buses have reportedly been used as “public bathrooms”.abandoned school buses zhejiang

It’s a shame the buses have been left unused, considering the dangers children face on their way to school. Public anger over lax safety standards reached its zenith after the deaths of 18 children in an accident in Gansu Province in November 2011. A total of 64 preschoolers had been crowded into a van with only nine seats when it crashed into an oncoming truck, also killing two adults.

Overcrowding was also cited in the deaths of 19 people, including 10 children, in an accident in October 2011.

As a result, local governments and schools were proud to show off their new school buses to address safety concerns. When a new series of school buses debuted in Chongming, Shanghai in February 2012, parent Zhang Zhongli expressed his confidence:

The new buses are sturdy enough that parents shouldn’t be worried about their children.

It’s unfortunate that more of these buses won’t be in operation.

abandoned school buses zhejiang

Photos: Yangze Evening Reports, People’s Daily Online


Guangzhou Escalator Suddenly Speeds Up Creating a Pile of Hurt Bodies

Posted: 08/27/2014 3:44 pm

guangzhou train station escalator malfunctionEleven people were sent to hospital yesterday when an escalator at the Guangzhou East Railway Station malfunctioned, causing a pile-up of 20 people, reports Southern Metropolis Guangzhou.

The escalator in the No. 6 underpass to the train station unexpectedly accelerated during a early morning rush of passengers at around 6am on August 26.

Some people were able to quickly run away from the escalator to try and make their trains, but those who couldn’t escape suffered some painful injuries.  gz train station escalator malfunction 01

Eleven victims were sent to hospital and all are said to be in stable condition. The majority of the victims had skin abrasions and lacerations, and were discharged shortly afterwards.

Emergency Room Director Zeng Yuhui said that two patients had more serious injuries and were required to be admitted overnight. Both are children: one has broken bones while the other requires stitches for deep cuts.

Mr Huang was at the scene:

We were on the escalator when it suddenly sped up. I hadn’t even reacted when I got crushed inside a mass of people. One of the children that fell down had her face cut by a luggage case, and my niece suffered serious injuries when she had her ear torn away.

The escalator involved in incident has been shut down. The railway station says it will look into what happened.

guangzhou train station escalator malfunction

Photos: Southern Metropolis Guangzhou, Money 163


Foreigner In Chengdu Grabs Steering Wheel of Moving Bus, Assaults Driver

Posted: 08/26/2014 3:50 pm

expat assaults bus driver chengduA bus driver in Chengdu is outraged after a belligerent foreigner grabbed his steering wheel and started pressing buttons after missing his bus top, putting himself and other passengers in danger.

Yang Tao, a bus driver with Chengdu Dongxin Public Buses, says he was shocked by the man’s behavour. “He has no sense of safety awareness at all,” he said.

The incident happened last Friday (August 22) after a foreigner boarded his bus. Yang describes the passenger as around 30 years old, slim, and with blond hair. “A classic European-American look,” Yang said.

The first sign of trouble happened the second the foreigner boarded. He only paid 2 mao rather than the 2 yuan fare, and then pretended not to understand Putonghua when the driver protested.  ”If he pretends not to understand me, then there’s nothing I can do,” Yang said. “The only thing left to do is to continue with the bus route.”

expat assaults bus driver chengdu

Yang said everything was fine until the foreigner came to the front because he missed his stop. The passenger wanted Yang to pull over and let him off. “I need to take care of the entire bus, so I rejected his request.” Instead, Yang tried using English by saying “Next.”

expat assaults bus driver chengdu

Unfortunately, the foreigner didn’t take it well. “I need to get off, and if you don’t allow me to get off then you are wrong!” he said.

The foreigner came over to the driver’s position, and started randomly pushing buttons on the dashboard in order to open the bus doors. Then he then tried to wrestle control of the steering wheel away from Yang while the bus was moving.

expat assaults bus driver chengdu

That wasn’t all: after finally reaching the next stop, the foreigner gave the bus driver a parting shot to the head. Yang was, to put it mildly, not impressed:

He was very impolite, and without any safety awareness at all. In the end, he hit me on the head. Even though his head strike did not cause any pain, he was still very insulting.

Yang said people from developed countries should have a better awareness of safety.

Chengdu may have a problem with foreigners behaving badly on public transit; another visitor was caught behaving poorly in this video.

Photos: Xinhuanet


New Xinjiang Train Station Destroyed By Massive Blaze Just Before Official Opening

Posted: 08/22/2014 2:28 pm

xinjiang railway station fire kumulA train station in Xinjiang that cost RMB 160 million to build has caught on fire just weeks before it was to be finished. The main hall of the Kumul train station caught on fire at around 5:19pm on August 21, reports Sina News, sending plumes of smoke into the sky.

The fire was brought under control by firefighters by 6pm. No injuries were reported.

xinjiang railway station fire kumul

The fire was apparently an accident. Construction workers accidentally ignited a layer of insulation in the walls, which spread quickly. It grew to about 600 square meters in size. The cost of the fire has yet to be determined.

xinjiang railway station fire kumul

Built by the Chinese Railroad No. 12 Department, the Kumul Railway Station was to be the second-largest train station in Xinjiang. Set to be completed by the end of this month, the station was to become operational by the end of the year by providing passengers with high-speed rail service.

Construction on the Kumul Railway Station began in 2012 with the main structure completed in October 2013. The facility featured a total space of 99.97 million square meters and cost RMB 160 million.

The development of transportation infrastructure in Xinjiang is indicative of the area’s double-digit growth rate, but hasn’t alleviated the area’s growing ethnic tensions between Han Chinese and the Uighur minority. Transportation hubs such as train stations have been targeted in bomb and knife attacks that have killed dozens of people.

Reza Hasmath, an expert on Chinese politics at the University of Oxford, has said  “Infrastructure-based development has not been successful in improving meaningful interactions between Hans and Uighurs.”

Here is a video of the fire:

Photos: People’s Daily


Fury In Hong Kong After MTR Train Runs Over Dog As People Tried to Save It

Posted: 08/21/2014 7:22 pm

hong kong dog killed MTR subwayHong Kong residents are outraged at local subway operator MTR, which is being blamed for a number of missteps that culminated in the death of a stray dog after being hit by a train.

The stray dog died when it was hit by the T801 train from Guangzhou at Sheung Shui Station at 10:30am on August 21.

The dog was first spotted around 9:50 in the morning by a commuter, after which train service was halted for six minutes while station personnel tried unsuccessfully to remove the dog from the tracks. The attempts included lowering a chair onto the tracks for the dog to hop onto. Unfortunately, the dog wasn’t rescued in time. After failing to get him off the tracks, train service resumed and the dog was killed a short time later.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the MTR said that it has an official procedure for dealing with this kind of situation:

There are clear guidelines for handling any reported track or unauthorized station entry by animals. In such circumstances, MTR staff will do their best to safely remove the animals while also ensuring the safety of passengers and their own safety at all times.

The incident has sparked a wave of anger among Hong Kong residents, some of whom have interpreted pictures of the stray dog on its hind legs as signalling its intention to climb up out of the tracks.

An online petition has been created, calling for a formal response from the MTR. So far 64,687 people have signed it (English version).

A memorial for the slain dog was held, while another commemoration service and a protest at MTR headquarters is planned.

hong kong dog killed MTR subway

Furthermore, animal rights group the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has announced its intention to meet with senior staff at the MTR Corporation. MIchael Wong of the SPCA refuted the MTR’s claims that it has an official procedure for dealing with stray animals.

The story of a stray animal wandering onto subway tracks has recalled a case from last year in which the New York City subway system was halted for two hours due to two kittens that were in danger of being struck by moving trains.

The cats were eventually rescued by a police officer.

hong kong dog killed MTR subway

Photos: Facebook, Yahoo


Jet Aimlessly Circles Chinese Airport Because Air Traffic Controllers Fell Asleep

Posted: 08/20/2014 1:50 pm

china easternA passenger airliner attempting to land at Wuhan airport was left circling above the airport for 12 minutes because two air traffic controllers had fallen asleep.

China Eastern Airlines flight MU2528 was arriving in Wuhan from Sanya in the early morning of July 8. However, pilots aboard the Boeing 737 were forced to delay landing when it failed to receive permission from ground control. In fact, it received no contact at all.

Fortunately the controllers eventually emerged from their slumber, allowing the airliner to land safely.

A report released by the civil aviation bureau disclosed details of the incident, reports Caijing. It was released on Tuesday, and is dated July 29. It says this about the delayed landing:

…multiple attempts to contact the air traffic tower were not answered by anyone during (the plane’s) approach (to the airport) because air traffic controllers on duty had fallen asleep, and so (pilots) were not able to establish communication. Afterwards, (upon making contact with the pilots), air traffic controllers directed the plane to come around in another circuit (to make another approach).

A transcript of the radio communications showed the pilots tried several times to reach air traffic control but failed. That’s when they decided to circle the airport until contact was re-established.

Photo: China Eastern 


Watch: Foreigner Faints on Shanghai Metro, Other Passengers Run Away

Posted: 08/20/2014 11:46 am

foreigner faints on shanghai metro subway unconscious run away no help supportTen seconds is apparently all it takes to empty a subway car full of passengers.

That’s what happened on August 9 at 9:34pm when an unidentified foreigner entered a subway car on Line 2 of the Shanghai Metro at Jinke Station. After taking a seat, the man was seen shifting towards his right, his head nearly touching the shoulder of the middle-aged woman sitting next to him.

Soon after, the man suddenly fell on the floor and appeared to have lost consciousness, reports iFeng.

foreigner faints on shanghai metro subway unconscious run away no help support

foreigner faints on shanghai metro

The first reaction from the five passengers sitting across from the foreigner was to run away. As seen in a surveillance video on board the subway (below), all passengers rushed out of the car within ten seconds of the man falling to the ground.

News of “an incident” spread to adjoining trains, and caused a panic among the passengers. At the next station, subway commuters started spilling out of the train. In the ensuing stampede, a middle-aged man fell down and a woman slammed into a partition.

foreigner faints on shanghai metro

Throughout the entire time, no passengers were seen providing any assistance to the passed-out foreigner.

Metro staff boarded the train at the next stop to provide assistance, but by then the foreigner had regained consciousness. He stood up on his own and exited the train.

The man’s condition, like his identity, is unknown.

Here is the surveillance video from the incident:

Photos: iFeng, Beijing Youth Daily


Guangzhou to Nanchang High-Speed Rail to Take Just 5 Hours

Posted: 08/13/2014 6:06 pm

high speed rail trainShenzhen passengers will be able to take a direct train to Nanchang in only five hours before the end of this year, reports SZ News.

Once finished, a trip from Guangzhou to Guiyang will be shortened from 22 hours to four, while a trip from Guangzhou to Nanning will be shortened from 14 hours to three.

The line also means other speedier connections. Once the high-speed railway network is complete, a trip from Shenzhen to Guiyang will take just five hours, while a trip from Shenzhen to Nanning will take just four hours.

Photo: QQ News

Keep in Touch

What's happening this week in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou? Sign up to be notified when we launch the This Week @ Nanfang newsletter.

sign up for our newsletter

Nanfang TV