TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS
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
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
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
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
Data as of July 1987