Millions of people braved China's overcrowded transport networks yesterday as they began the long trek back to work at the end of the Lunar New Year holiday, amid warnings of more bad weather.
Railway officials in the nation's three main transport hubs -- Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou -- said the number of passengers were to peak yesterday and today, the China Daily reported.
The two main train stations in the Chinese capital expected the number of incoming passengers -- mostly migrants returning to their dormitories -- would top 100,000 on both days, the paper said.
The railway ministry had added 226 special trains to accommodate one of the biggest movements of people anywhere in the world, but even so, tickets were sold out, the paper said.
The railways alone are expected to carry a record 178.6 million passengers during this year's 40-day travel season, up from 156 million last year, Xinhua said, citing the railway ministry.
The transport system has been under unprecedented strain not just because of the millions of extra passengers, but also because it has had to cope with the most ferocious winter weather in at least five decades.
Snowstorms and chilly temperatures froze key sections of the transport network just as great numbers of people were heading home for the holiday late last month and the beginning of this month, leaving millions stranded.
There were further warnings of more bad weather to come, exactly at the wrong time, at the start of the return travel rush. Today is the last day of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday.
Heavy snow and even blizzards were expected in the next three days in the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan in the west, while sleet and icy rain were possible in most parts of southwestern Guizhou Province.
A severe cold snap would affect northern China, resulting in light or moderate snow for parts of the Inner Mongolia region and Heilongjiang Province in the next two days, according to Xinhua.
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for
SPACE RACE: The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp mission aims to land a robotic rover and put a probe into orbit around the planet China is targeting a July launch for its ambitious Mars mission, which includes landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the Red Planet, the company in charge of the project has said. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space program in an effort to catch up with its rival, the US, and affirm its status as a major world power. The Mars mission is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a space station by 2022. Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for some time this year,
Former US vice president Joe Biden on Friday said he “should not have been so cavalier” after he told a radio host that African Americans who back US President Donald Trump “ain’t black.” In a call with the US Black Chamber of Commerce that was added to his public schedule, Biden said he would never “take the African American community for granted.” “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” Biden said. “No one should have to vote for any party based on their race or religion or background.” Biden faced criticism after his comments earlier on Friday on The Breakfast Club, a