原文标题：Beijing’s headache: Too many cars, fewer homes
BEIJING: It is 6:30 am on a Monday , and traffic on Panjiyuan South Road is already beginning to slow down as the morning rush hour hits its stride. In another hour cars are backed up for kilometers on most arterial roads leading into the central business district of Beijing. Spanning the flower-shouldered roads are huge electronic boards which indicate the state of traffic on a 2×2 grid – red lines mean traffic is at halt, orange is slow moving and the rare green is moving traffic.
Beijing has 5 million cars, with 2000 more being added every day till recently. And in central Beijing, most of these are limousines with Mercs, BMWs, and Skodas dominating . Towards the suburbs, or in inner communities off the main roads, the mix of vehicles suddenly changes. All types of powered vehicles from electric three wheelers (bubble-top or matchbox) to smaller Suzukis, mopeds and even bicycles. Till a decade ago this was a city that was dominated by bicycles as hundreds of thousands pedaled to and fro their offices. The economic boom has created this car frenzy.
Talk to any local and two issues are always mentioned – traffic and housing prices. In this, Beijing seems very similar to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore or any other metropolis. Beijing is officially categorized as a “province level municipality” which helps in slowly eating up the surrounding rural areas that stretch upto the Great Wall, 60 km away. The area covered by Beijing municipal administration is huge – about 17,000sq km. Delhi is about 1400 and Mumbai just 600sq km. The population of this vast administrative area is over 20 million, although the core districts contain about 17 million people.
A decade ago, Beijing’s population was 14 million. This 44% increase is due to influx of migrants from both rural areas and other cities. Attracted by a nearly 13% average annual growth rate of the municipality’s gross regional product (GRP), young educated people from other towns and cities flock to the capital for work. The GRP of Beijing is estimated at 1.37 trillion Renminbi (RMB) in 2010, or about $217 billion. Nearly three quarters of this is from the services sector.
This population explosion of mainly better income immigrants has led to a huge imbalance in demand and supply of housing, and consequent massive hike in property prices , says professor Xu Jie of Chinese Academy of Governance . “Return on real estate increased 300% between 2003 and 2011, while average growth in consumer prices was just 3.8% per year,” she explained.
Yuan Ping, a Beijing University student has to pay about $400 per month for a tiny single room apartment to in order to live close to the campus . in northern Beijing.
The government has slowly woken up to this twin crises, announcing a slew of measures . On the traffic front, a new regulation announced in April this year prohibits cars with specified last digits of their registration numbers from coming on the streets on certain days of the week.
For example numbers ending with 3 and 8 are prohibited on Mondays and so on.
What happens if you violate ? Beijing roads are strangely devoid of traffic police persons compared to Indian cities.
But there are cameras everywhere , hanging from cross beams over roads. Every time a prohibited car number is caught on camera , an automatic notice for a 200-yuan penalty is issued. To control the insanely rising car numbers , the Beijing municipality has introduced a lottery system to choose 20,000 new registrations every month.
The number of applicants are usually 800,000 every month. For housing, the government is pulling down ancient hutongs or densely populated communities to be replaced by ‘security home’ that is, multi-storeyed flatted complexes like gated communities . Thirty-six million new homes are proposed by 2015, and so the skyline is punctured by tower cranes. Mortgages are permitted only to those who have worked for 5 years at least.
Common people are resigned to high rents and long commutes. The saving grace is it takes only 2 yuan to travel anywhere on the Beijing metro (called subway) and just 1 yuan for a bus ride anywhere.
Anil Jadhav (Alibag)
Make car houses..
This is the least of chinas problems. Human rights should probably be addressed before we get too much further along.
jugal ahuja (jabalpur) replies to rsesq
20 hrs ago (11:46 AM)
rsesq, stop talking about human rights. your government’s record is no better,i think you have heard about guatanamo bay detention camp,usa soldiers killing iraqi, & afghan civilians, torturing the same countries civilians including women & children. your phony human rights activism will fool no one. discriminations in your society still persists, with anglo saxons being given highest preference ,followed by other whites ,then hispaniacs,asians lastly blacks.
rsesq (USA) replies to jugal ahuja
You speak of isolated incidents. Compare how ordinary citizens live in each country and your argument is not valid.
zhou (guiyang) replies to rsesq
22 hrs ago (09:20 AM)
Once India becomes more affluent than China then you can lecture us, right now India’s one of the poorest countries in Asia, Beijing has one of the highest per capita income of any developing country. India needs to address the basic human rights of its people to be free from starvation, free from illeteracy, free from discrimination before it even dreams of catching up to China.
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Ramalingam Raghupati (hyderabad) replies to zhou
Don’t show this problematic attitude here. The article being published in indian media has a free and independent source. If you can’t tolerate discussions on the given article, better avoid this indian media. You should rather join your state controlled Chinese media to hear what you want and be fooled by those fake glory. The housing problem in China is nothing new and stands to be resolved than to be rolled under the carpet. so, come on, stop this bullying on the basis of phony patriotism.
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GJR Nadar (Mumbai) replies to Ramalingam Raghupati
I fully agree with you. Even a beggar has got his rights to express his feelings towards any social stigma where as in China, every one knows what will happen if he opens his mouth. If freedom is bestowed he is the king to live his life in his style with his available resources. So King is always better than a slave.
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Sleep on the streets.
John Baker (London,UK) replies to divarkarjo
22 hrs ago (10:04 AM)
They are NOT INDIAN.
Abdul (New Delhi) replies to John Baker
20 hrs ago (11:33 AM)
Yeah Ture… but Do you remember who stole the golden bird of India and who cut the Chinese melon? Steal everywhere on the planet and call your race superior. Be British!
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Shrek (Nairobi) replies to John Baker
20 hrs ago (11:34 AM)
funny john that being in UK … you dont know chinese…. I have seen chinese ppl selling vegetables beside the localites here in kenya… this is the level they can go… luckily indians maintain there dignity abroad except in middle east…
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KK (Kenya) replies to Shrek
19 hrs ago (12:13 PM)
y,,, in middle east ur uncle s there?
Shrek replies to KK
17 hrs ago (02:35 PM)
yeah… you and ur wife was seen cleaning toilets in dubai…. kindly dont embarass us by starting this in kenya
Vinod Saini (Ahmedabad)
22 hrs ago (09:42 AM)
Design cars to be used as mobile homes for Chinese people if homes are scarce!
22 hrs ago (09:47 AM)
Beijing seems very similar to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore . What is the author talking about? 60% of Mumbaikars are lving in slums. Beijing is similar? Beijing is a city that could hold Olympics successfully and smothly whole Delhi is a city that had a disastrous CMG.
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21 hrs ago (10:48 AM)
Suggestion to China. Hike petrol prices by like we did. Given the love & respect your people have for the ruling elite, nobody will dare protest. Instead they’ll stop driving cars and save up to buy a home. Problem solved 🙂
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one can always sleep in a car but can never ride a house
20 hrs ago (11:56 AM)
What pitty. We are feeling for china’s situation. What a sympathy shownby our newspapers. Jai ho
hashampat21 (Pune Maharashtra)
This is a time for us to learn from china’s problem. Take preventive measure within time.
Proud Indian (Chennai)
20 hrs ago (12:06 PM)
We are a nation of brainwashed idiots with a heavy dose of Jingoism. China is 3 times bigger than India which means their population density is just 1/3rd of India. They are light years ahead of us in infrastructure, military and manufacturing. All our big giants TATAs, Infosys, Wipro, Birla etc are moving their new plants to China and investing in billions. Of late, 20% of IITians have opted China instead of US. Very soon, China will control our economy.
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19 hrs ago (12:13 PM)
in India so many bikes,car, mobiles but few toilets. People in china can sleep in car but one can’t use mobiles car or bikes in place of a toilet.
anil sharma (mumbai)
The disadvantages of cars :- Increase in Pollution – Dependence on cars – traffic jams – Decrease in practices such as walking and cycling so chinese govt like us should increase the petrol prices in this way people will be discouraged from using cars
Jeswin Chandrasekhar (Kannur)
Yup they have a problem………….but i am sure they are planning an ingenious way of tackling it…………….You will read in a couple of months about how Beijing solved their traffic issues…………………. 🙂 YE CHINA HE INDIA NAHI…. 🙁
19 hrs ago (12:41 PM)
Allow buildings with minimum 50 floors only.More space for move and more homes to stay
Pradeep Nair (Chennai)
Very soon this will happen in all the metro cities in India too. For time being it will be less due to the fuel price hike.
Congress people know this problem that’s why they hiked the price of petrol to solve this issue. Hats off to congress.
dr.sandeep kumar abothula (china)
1 hr ago (06:54 AM)
indian government … dont get satisfiy with this type of news…they will show changes with in 3 months…u will suprise by the way they tacle …
Proud Indian (Chennai)
20 hrs ago (12:00 PM)
We are doing mental masturbation and living in denial. The string of pearls built by China and Pak has shattered the confidence of our army. We are shamelessly begging America NOT to leave us alone in Afghan like a old concubine begging her powerful Nawab to retain her status. All our neighbors – China, Pak, SLanka, Afghan Talibans and BDesh are waiting for green signal from China. We have already fallen into the bottomless pit of corruption, naxalism, overpopulation and still refusing to believe that our holy cow institutions are collapsing.
Every qualified Indian wants to quit and settle in Christian and Muslim nations. Millions of Indians are standing under hot sun for jobs in front of Arab and Christian nations.Top army officers and politicians are looting and keeping the nation’s wealth in the safe hands of Jesus in Swiss banks. Mighty China has crushed the confidence of our armed forces and all our neighbors have shunned us and joined hands with China. We are collapsing economically and waiting for a massive civil war to erupt and disintegrate.
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