Country Listing

China Table of Contents



Railroads:Basis of transportation system. About 52,000 kilometers of track in operation. Only 18 percent double tracked in 1984 and some important lines lacking modern equipment. Ninety percent of locomotives steam engines in 1979; but by mid-1980s production of diesel and electric models growing rapidly. Freight cars numbered 280,000, passenger cars numbered 20,000 in 1985. Railroads efficient within limits of track system. Expansion and improvement progressing in 1987.

Roads: About 962,800 kilometers in 1986; about 80 percent surfaced. Importance of highways and motor vehicles growing but bicycles and animal carts still much in evidence throughout country.

Inland Waterways:About 136,000 kilometers of navigable rivers, streams, lakes, and canals carried 44 percent of freight traffic in 1986, only slightly less than railroads. Rapid growth. Principal system Chang Jiang and its tributaries in central and east China; major freight artery. Secondary system Zhu Jiang (Pearl River) and its tributaries in south.

Maritime Shipping:Rapidly growing merchant fleet; 600 vessels of various kinds in 1984, total cargo capacity over 16 million tons. Major ports include Shanghai, Dalian, Qinhuangdao, Qingdao, Tianjin, and Huangpu. Rapid modernization of port facilities.

Civil Aviation: About 228,000 kilometers of domestic routes; about 94,000 kilometers of international routes in 1987. State airline General Administration of Civil Aviation of China known as CAAC. Regional airlines established in mid-1980s. Small but growing share of total freight and passenger traffic; important link to remote areas and foreign countries. In 1987 fleet included American-made Boeing 707, 737, 747, and 767 and McDonnell-Douglas MD-82 jetliners as well as other American, British, Soviet, West German, and domestic aircraft. Beijing International Airport completed in 1980.

Telecommunications:Diversified system linked all parts of country by telephone, telegraph, radio, and television. Marked improvements by mid-1980s with influx of foreign technology and increased domestic production capabilities. International and longdistance telephone links by cable and satellite of high quality. Telegraph, facsimile, and telex all in use. International satellite ground stations in Beijing and Shanghai; domestic satellite communication network operational in 1986. Over 160 radio stations by mid-1980s; transistorized radio receivers common. Vast wired broadcasting system including over 2,600 stations carrying radio transmissions into all rural units and many urban areas. Television system grew rapidly in 1980s; 90 television stations and 80 million sets.

Science and Technology: One of Four Modernizations, its high-speed development declared essential to all national economic development by Deng Xiaoping. Major breakthroughs in nuclear weapons, satellite launching and recovery, superconductivity, highyield hybrid rice. Policy formulation at top levels puts emphasis on application of science to industry and foreign technology transfer.

Data as of July 1987