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China sojourn 02-25-2011

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Letter to the editor by Sidney L. Jarvis

China sojourn

Recently, my sojourn from Beijing to Shanghai, China, became an eye opener. The modern, clean, subway systems in both of those cities provided a reasonable and quick way to reach many areas. Many Chinese were using electronic devices during the trips.

Auto traffic is growing, especially on the freeways (mostly toll roads outside the cities). Only in Shanghai are you required to purchase a lifetime car license to use the freeways. The transferable licenses fluctuate in price and may cost in the $1,000s U.S. dollars and may be sold!

Around Suzhou, about 2/3 of the flats and homes have solar panels. By next year 50 percent of the world’s solar panels will be manufactured in China. Windmill production is growing which will make China first in the world.

Rapid rail trains just opened between Shanghai and Nanjing, the ancient Capital. The luxurious cars zipped me along smooth, raised, tracks at about 150 mph. Rows of trees have been planted along the tracks. In two years the rapid rail line will extend from Shanghai to Beijing, a four-hour journey, equal to Orlando to New York City!

At the world’s largest Expo in Shanghai, a fleet of new battery-operated buses took me to over 200 pavilions including ones from Iraq, Iceland, Palestine, South Africa and Australia. In central Shanghai, all motorcycles and scooters were battery operated. Yea!

In Shanghai I rode the “med-lev,” which zooms on top of the tracks over 150 mph to the Pudong Air Terminal in about 15 minutes. Each car had comfortable, first-class seating.

China is making giant strides to improve the infrastructure. According to a Chinese, environmental professor I spoke to, the agreements China has negotiated with many South American and African nations have provided China with the necessary resources for rapid development.

Sidney L. Jarvis

Ocala