The Taipei-Beijing Highway

If you read this article in Xinhua, you’d think it was a done deal — that China is going full speed ahead with a highway leading from Beijing to Taipei. How it gets across the strait isn’t addressed; there’s just a vague allusion to a tunnel or something.

Chinese Minister Zhang Chunxian of Communications revealed here Thursday that the country is planningto build an expressway between the capital city of Beijing an d Taipei.

“This has been included in a new expressway network plan mapped out by China,” he told a press conference held by the Information Office of the State Council, China’s cabinet.

From now to 2030 China will complete work on 85,000 kilometers of expressways at an estimated cost of 2 trillion yuan (242.1 billion US dollars) in total, including one from Beijing to Taipei,Zhang said.

When the exchanges of mail service, trade and air and shipping services across the Taiwan Straits, or the so-called three direct links, are in place, the Chinese mainland and Taiwan will be connected by expressway networks, he said.

A certain means of transport, being tunnels or other projects, could be adopted to link the expressways of the two places, in a certain period of time under the prerequisite of three direct links, the official said.

Of course, there’s only one tiny point the article never mentions, i.e., what do the Taiwanese have to say about this grandiose plan?? To find that out, you’ll have to dig a little deeper:

In Taiwan, a government spokesman said the Chinese announcement was merely a far-fetched exercise in political propaganda and had no significance. Taipei’s Central News Agency quoted spokesman Chen Chi-mai as saying as saying: “If China wants to contribute to cross-strait development, we hope that it will address cross-strait issues in a pragmatic manner.”

I always marvel at China’s state-controlled media’s ability to leave out the most crucial element of the story, assuming it’s speaking to an audience of idiots. This is just some bizarre fantasy of a drunken official, and Xinhua would have you believe construction starts tomorrow.

The Discussion: 12 Comments

yes, i know those taiwan secessionists would prefer to build something like the former Berlin Wall

January 13, 2005 @ 8:16 pm | Comment

“Of course, there’s only one tiny point the article never mentions, i.e., what do the Taiwanese have to say about this grandiose plan?”

does that guy represent all “taiwanese”? i doubt.

i think he only represents some of the coldwar-minded, china-paranoid taiwan secessionists.

January 13, 2005 @ 8:23 pm | Comment

The main point is that the mainland media completely omits anything about what Taiwanese think about this plan.

January 14, 2005 @ 1:27 am | Comment


i agree with you, the politics is just stupid.

to the ordinary people, all these are self-evident: taiwan is a part of chinese nation currently separated from mainland by political reasons, people in both mainland and taiwan don’t like war, they want more exchanges, hopefully a peaceful and gradual re-integration could bring all the parties involved a satisfying end result…

simple and clear

January 14, 2005 @ 1:41 am | Comment

This is the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while. The CNN article notes that the world’s longest bridge is 24 miles long, which is 100 miles shorter than any sort of mainland-Taiwan bridge.

They’re currently negotiating about future negotiations about having several charter flights carry a handful of businessmen from Shanghai to Taipe just for the Chinese New Yeari, and the mainland is talking about building a bridge to the mainland?Something tells me that China would be better off directing money to their war against drugs, because even their higher level government officials seem to be on crack.

January 14, 2005 @ 2:15 am | Comment

even their higher level government officials seem to be on crack.

Interesting. What made you think so? By reading People’s Daily editorial or watching CCTV news?

January 14, 2005 @ 2:43 am | Comment

Who doesn’t love these kind of stories? I find it so entertaining to see wild predictions for the future presented as “breaking news” fact on China Daily, especially when it comes to economic figures.

“Newsflash! China’s economy to quadruple in 2040!”

“Breaking News! Well-Off Society to be achieved on March 20th, 2026!”

“Premier: Everything will be fine in 2010”

Damn, they must have some damned good soothsayers locked up in a Zhong Nan Hai dungeon….my employers in China (gov’t unis) couldn’t even tell me what was happening the next day.

January 14, 2005 @ 4:13 am | Comment

I remember reading Taiwan’s newspapers growing up. Sometimes people can get really confused by the way the US tabloid news got mixed into the newspapers. For example, the alien autopsy, the big foot etc… they were reported in the newspapers like real actual events.

January 14, 2005 @ 8:10 am | Comment

I saw the news briefing live on CCTV. Another interesting project is a proposed bridge across the mouth of the Pearl River delta linking Shenzhen with Zhuhai. This would undercut a current proposal to link Hong Kong directly with Macau. The spokesman never did give a direct answer when an HK reporter call him on this.

January 16, 2005 @ 5:46 pm | Comment

Do you remember all of the problems that Britain and France had trying to dig the channel Tunnel, and exactly how many worker related deaths there were from that multi billion dollar program between two cooperating and developed countries, or the fiasco that Japan had constructing the northern rail tunnel.

If this plan were to even get off of the ground it would cost billions, the planning alone would take the best part of a decade, and does anybody in the world really have the technology to construct a 100+ mile link between Taiwan and the mainland.

Can you say ‘biggest white elephant int he history of mankind’.

There isn’t enough money in China to make a link this long and there isn’t enough cooperation between the mainland and Taiwan to even agree on whether the signposts will be writeen in tradiaional or simplified chinese.

They will build orbital elivators before they buiild a China-Taiwan link.

Oh, and can you drive tanks through it?

January 16, 2005 @ 11:04 pm | Comment

“Oh, and can you drive tanks through it?”

to build a tunnel to drive tanks through it?

you are very hurmous and, coldwar-minded.

January 17, 2005 @ 4:48 am | Comment

ok….let me test it now….maybe it’s not what I think it is….

January 17, 2005 @ 6:58 pm | Comment

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