Tag Archives: Danwei

Beijing Traffic in 1981. And a Change on This Site.

An interesting passage and a mini-site announcement today.

First: Danwei announced they’d begin republishing old stories from former Daily Telegraph Beijing correspondent Graham Earnshaw, who held the post from 1980 to 1984.

The first article they posted is interesting mostly for Earnshaw’s author’s note:

At the time, there were almost no cars on Beijing streets except for a few buses, army jeeps and the occasional Red Flag limo. It was all bicycles. It was possible to drive very fast, and I once did Jianguomen to Beida in 15 minutes. Madness. At night camel trains of several camels, as well as donkey carts, would pass along Jianguomenwai Dajie, so deathly quiet after 9pm that it was possible to clearly hear the Peking station clock playing the East is Red on the hour every hour. Another explanation given for the ban on headlights was to prevent giving the US imperialists or Soviet revisionists guidance on any possible bombing run.

Jianguomen to Beida in 15 minutes, for those of you not familiar with Beijing traffic, is approximately twice as fast as today when the streets are empty at 3 a.m. A realistic person during the day, and not rush hour, would budget an hour to make the drive.

My mini-announcement: I’ve previously tried to keep this site specifically focused on things transpacific. We will see as I move around in the coming months, but for now, I’m going to post any East Asia or transpacific news, regardless of whether it involves other countries. This is the first.