SCIO briefing on high-quality transport development

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Li Xiaopeng, minister of transport

Liu Xiaoming, vice minister of transport

Hu Kaihong, spokesperson for the State Council Information Office of China

Feb. 28, 2019

Hu Kaihong:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference. The development of transport has received a lot of attention in our society, and has improved people's sense of fulfillment and happiness. To help you better understand the issues concerning transport development, today we are delighted to welcome Mr. Li Xiaopeng, the minister of transport, to explain the planning and progress of supply-side structural reform and the development of high-quality transport. He will also answer your questions. We also have with us Mr. Liu Xiaoming, the vice minister of transport. At this time, I'll give the floor to Mr. Li.

Li Xiaopeng:

Thank you, Mr. Hu. Ladies and gentlemen, members of news outlets, good morning to you all. I am very happy to be here today. Mr. Liu Xiaoming and several of my colleagues will join with me today to introduce the development of China's transportation and answer any of your questions.

In 2018, China's transportation industry was proactively implementing the decisions and deployment made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, from the perspective of serving the public, overall situation, and the grassroots community. It should be said that we have made significant progress.

First, the infrastructure has been improved. Last year, the fixed-asset investment in transportation amounted to about 3.2 trillion yuan, of which 800 billion yuan was in railways, 2.3 trillion yuan in roads and water transportations, and 80 billion yuan in civil aviation. More than 2,600 kilometers of high-speed railways and 5,000 kilometers of newly-built highways have been put into operation. Second, logistics costs are further reduced. We have taken a series of measures to reduce logistics costs by 98.1 billion yuan in 2018. Third, the transportation structure has been adjusted. The focus has been shifted from large-scale, long-distance cargo to rail transport. The volume of rail transport increased by about 350 million tons last year. Fourth, both the capacity and service of the transportation systems have been improved. Last year, the number of passengers nationwide reached 17.9 billion, the volume of cargo reached 50.6 billion tons, and the volume of express delivery reached 50.7 billion. Fifth, the business environment has been improved. Last year, a total of five administrative examination and approval items were canceled, and another 20 administrative approval items were made possible to be reported online. Sixth, there has been an increase in the modes of transport that are on offer. Ride-hailing services and shared bicycles have been standardized, with an average of 20 million people using ride-hailing services and about 10 million people using shared bicycles on a daily basis.

Li Xiaopeng:

In 2019, we will focus our work on promoting the high-quality development of transport and the supply-side structural reform of the transport industry. We will implement the eight-character policy of "consolidation, improvement, enhancement and facilitation". We will consolidate the achievements in improving weak links and lowering costs, and we will also expand the achievements. We will improve the operating environment and services, enhance the innovative growth and the momentum of growth, and facilitate national economic development through further raising efficiency and integration. We will lay stress on six principle points in this year's work – improving efficiency, lowering costs, ensuring safety, deepening reform; expanding openness; and promoting innovation.

We will follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, implement the decisions made by the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the second plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee and the third plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee. We will follow the Party's line, principles and policies and ensure the decisions and plans of the Party and the State Council are fully implemented.

We need to seize opportunities, make progress while maintaining stability, and remove obstacles so that we can forge ahead. We will work hard in close collaboration to meet the increasing demands of the people for better lives and for better transportation facilities. We are doing our best to make our transport system more convenient and smoother. We are looking forward to celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China with our outstanding achievements.

Thanks for listening to my briefing. Now, Mr. Liu Xiaoming and I would like to take your questions. Thank you.

Hu Kaihong:

Thank you Mr. Li. Now, the floor is open to questions. Please identify your media organizations before asking questions.


I would like to ask Minister Li, as this year is also the fifth anniversary of General Secretary Xi Jinping's important directives known as the "Sihao Rural Roads" ["Four Good Principles on Rural Roads"]. As an important emerging force for rural revitalization, what kind of welfare does the transportation industry bring to the people in rural areas?

Li Xiaopeng:

Thank you for your question. The "Sihao" of "Sihao Rural Roads" refers to four elements essential to rural roads: good construction, good management, good maintenance and good operation. This "Sihao," also known as "four good principles," was summarized and proposed by General Secretary Xi Jinping himself, in order to lead a project that will win people over, benefit their livelihood, and be generously administered. The first time the general secretary gave instructions on the "Sihao Rural Roads" was in March 2014. It has been five years since that, and in that five years, the Ministry of Transport has implemented the important instructions of the general secretary, and worked with related departments and provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities to promote the construction of the "Sihao Rural Roads" according to the "four good principles."

To review the achievements of the past five years, we can say three sentences to conclude: First, the scale of the rural road networks has expanded; second, a structure for joint construction and joint administration has been formed; third, the service level has been steadily improved. In terms of the scale of road networks, in the past five years we have built and renovated 1.392 million kilometers of rural roads. By the end of last year, the total mileage of rural roads reached 4.05 million kilometers, and 99.64 percent of towns have hard-surfaced road access, while 99.47 percent of the administrative villages have hard-surfaced roads installed. In terms of the administration structure, 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have attached great importance to the implementation of the "Sihao Rural Roads," issuing instructions on how to construct and implement them, or incorporating this work into the government assessment system. The pattern of joint construction and joint administration has taken initial shape. In terms of transportation services, when the roads open, the traffic should also be there. By the end of last year, 99.1 percent of the townships and 96.5 percent of the administrative villages had buses services. Once they have buses, farmers can step onto the paved roads and hardened roads, and board the buses. They can get around more conveniently. 

Of course, even as we celebrate the achievements, we must also be aware of the problems and weaknesses. The first is that the demands for construction are still huge. Everyone may ask, you just said that more than 99 percent of the towns and villages have paved the hardened road, so then how can you still need a large scale of construction? But our country is too big, even 0.1 percentage points represents a big number, and there are still many rural areas that have no hard-surfaced roads. Second, the issue of maintenance is still outstanding. After a road is built, how to maintain it, how to manage it? Although there is a preliminary institutional mechanism, it is still not perfect. Third, there have been some phenomena, such as asphalt roads turning back into sand, or "good roads going bad" due to lack of maintenance, because the standards of early construction are not high; or due to other problems, the roads that once were smooth now became less clear. Fourth, the laws and regulations as well as systems and standards are still not perfect. Finally, the accountability system is not yet fully established. All these issues must be given full attention and resolved in seriousness.

We'll better implementation of rural road construction in the next stage according to the "four good principles." There are generally three points related to our efforts. First, we need to increase involvement, accelerate construction and overcome obstacles. Second, we need to improve our planning and our polices, laws, regulations and standards. We are drafting "Opinions on how to Press Ahead with Quality Development of Rural Roads by the Four Good Principles." 

Regarding legal aspects, we have drafted "Rural Road Regulations" after soliciting public opinions, based on which we are rectifying the legal items. We'll do our best to carry this out as soon as the legislative procedure allows. 

Third, we need to strengthen our implementation. As with any task, we need to implement construction of rural roads soundly, specifying in detail the measures and approaches in different locations and regions, with regard to grass-roots communities in particular. There are designated personnel to take charge of each road and they ought to be motivated to ensure the smooth operation of roads in line with the "four good principles." We expect their experiences to be shared. We'll also move forward with the selection of model counties that excel in the construction and operation of rural roads according to the "four good principles" in all ways, making them locomotives to lead the rest of the regions in their construction of rural roads.

All in all, the construction of rural roads is important to help farmers rise out of poverty and enable them to lead decent lives. It also serves as a key strategy to fulfill rural rejuvenation and has a major impact on agricultural and rural modernization. The Ministry of Transport will, therefore, work hard on the instructions of President Xi Jinping, with all involved departments and regions making a concerted effort to push this construction forward. Thank you.

Xinhua News Agency:

A dozen cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, have rolled out some policies concerning the road test for automatic driving, Has the Ministry of Transport granted any policy support this development?

Li Xiaopeng:

Thank you for your question.

Since automatic driving is a cutting-edge technology in the area of transportation, we pay close attention to research and development into self-driving technologies. In last April, the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Public Security jointly issued a pilot regulation for the road testing of intelligent connected vehicles, marking the first time a national guideline on road testing for self-driving vehicles has been issued. Last July, the Ministry of Transportation issued provisional measures for the construction of closed test sites for automatic driving, which will serve as a guide for the construction of closed test sites across the country. At present, we have authorized three such units, one each in Beijing, Chongqing and Xi'an.

All of these moves demonstrate our emphasis on the technology, especially in regard to its application. The development of automatic driving is of great significance for ensuring safety, enhancing efficiency, improving services and promoting industry growth. Our principle is to encourage exploration, tolerate failures, ensure security and oppose monopoly. Next, we will undertake the following work.

First, we should strengthen inter-ministerial coordination, and establish a cross-departmental coordinative working mechanism with relevant ministries, to develop a guidance system for the development of autonomous driving. Secondly, we should strengthen R&D and test verification of key technologies and equipment to achieve synergy between automatic driving and road improvements, and promote the formulation and revision of the relevant standards. Third, we should speed up research, formulation and promulgation of relevant laws and regulations in the field of automatic driving. Fourth, the pilot projects of application and commercialization should be carried out in a steady and prudent way. We have already established pilot projects in some localities. For instance, we have selected some areas in Zhejiang province, Xiamen and Xiongan New District as pilot demonstration areas. Fifth, we should strengthen international cooperation on self-driving technologies with other countries.

Self-driving is a new and vibrant technology. It requires time to put the technology into full use. We need to work together to make it safe and promote its application as well as related services. 

Legal Evening News:

A multi-department group including supervisors from the Ministry of Transport began their in-house safety inspection at China's ride-hailing firms last September. What progress has been made in ensuring these platforms' compliance with regulations? What measures will be introduced to tighten supervision over them? Thank you.

Li Xiaopeng:

Thank you. Mr. Liu will answer your question.

Liu Xiaoming:

Thank you for your question. As you know, transport is at the forefront of the internet economy, and the development of mobile internet has led to a marked rise in new forms of transport business. As one of the new forms, ride-hailing is an innovative transport service offering better travel experience, and also a more convenient way of commuting. However, this new business also faces many problems, including excessive growth, unhealthy competition and safety loopholes. 

In recent years, a series of regulatory measures have been introduced at the national level, gradually putting ride-hailing services on track toward orderly development. Of course, intensified efforts are still needed to make further progress.

To address the safety concerns of ride-hailing and car-pooling services, on Sept. 5, 2018, an in-house joint inspection, by the relevant departments of the inter-ministerial joint conference on coordinated oversight on new forms of transport, as well as the Department of Emergency Management, launched an investigation to detect safety loopholes and problems involving eight major entities in the industry, including Didi Chuxing, Shouqi Yueche, Shenzhou Zhuanche, Caocao Zhuanche, Yidao Yongche, Meituan Chuxing, Dida Chuxing and AutoNavi. The inspection groups pointed out various problems they identified in regard to safety and the services being offered, and gave each of those involved relevant rectification requirements. To date, all of the eight entities platforms have produced their respective rectification plans and published them on the website to solicit for public opinions. The rectification work is now underway.

The General Office of State Council issued a guideline in July 2016 to actively and steadily promote the reform of the taxi industry. Seven ministries, including the Ministry of Transport, also released a joint order to strengthen the management of online taxi booking services. A series of support measures were drafted to guide local governments to extend reform of the taxi industry, improve the management of online ride booking services, reinforce joint supervision, and particularly to speed up compliance from online taxi booking companies.

The online taxi booking industry has now stepped onto the path of standardized development. About 247 cities across the country have taken specific measures to regulate online ride hailing services. Internet enterprises, regular taxi companies, car rental companies and vehicle manufacturers will all participate in the taxi industry actively and lawfully, making people's transport options more diversified and convenient. So far, over 110 online taxi booking platforms have obtained management permits; about 680,000 drivers and 450,000 vehicles have been given certificates to provide online ride booking services. Despite the smooth progress, we also acknowledge that there are various problems and contradictions interwoven, and that deepening the reform of the taxi industry is a highly complicated and systemic task. The Ministry of Transport will urge local authorities to fulfill their responsibilities and implement related policies. We will do more research and evaluate the implementation of policies in due time. We will also gradually establish a more diversified system to promote the taxi industry's sound and sustainable development to better facilitate transportation.

Another question about the ride-hailing industry. Many of the involved companies felt a burden amid the downward economic pressure since last year. Recently, Didi Chuxing said it would be cutting jobs. Moreover, drivers and suppliers have complained about overdue payments from Yidao Yongche around the Spring Festival. What will the ministry do to deal with such problems?

Liu Xiaoming:

Thank you. I think the general public are also extremely concerned about these questions. Transport, both the traditional and new forms, are involved in the transportation of tangible goods and providing service. Despite the development of the ride-hailing industry and other new business forms, the nature of transport won't change. Commercial capital investment and the internet may help some new business forms grow rapidly at first, when enterprises seek growth through single-minded pursuit of traffic flow and added value. As a result, they fail to establish a successful business mode featuring both profit pursuit and sustainable growth. Seeking unchecked growth also creates management loopholes such as high safety risks, lack of strict verification for drivers and vehicles, and information security vulnerabilities, all of them of great public concern. The Ministry of Transport has been promoting the development of new business forms based on the principle of putting passengers first, encouraging innovation, never crossing a certain line, seeking benefit and avoiding harm, seeking orderly development, and conducting regulation in a tolerant and prudent way.

It seems the unhealthy growth of new business forms isn't going to last for long. Through a comprehensive in-house inspection launched by the ministry last year, some ride-hailing platforms came to recognize that passenger safety is their main responsibility, obligation, and the only foundation for further development. All the platforms calmed down and considered whether they could upgrade their systems and overcome their shortcomings, striving to find a development mode more sustainable and acceptable to the public. We heard the news that Didi would cut jobs after the Spring Festival; meanwhile, the company announced it would hire employees possibly more than it would cut to further enhance security systems and improve services. There are some other enterprises facing financial difficulty due to a money-burning subsidy strategy generated by the single-minded pursuit of traffic flow. We pay close attention to the development of the industry, urging the platforms to protect the legitimate interests of both the passengers and drivers, so as to promote rectification and healthy development of enterprises. We will keep track of the development of ride-hailing platforms in the future, in order to defend the rights and interests of both passengers and drivers. Thank you.

Li Xiaopeng:

Just now, two journalists asked questions about online car-hailing, and there may be others interested in issues related to new forms of transportation. We all know that transportation is a traditional industry; yet, combined with computers, cloud computing, big data and the internet, new types of business will emerge, such as online car-hailing and bike sharing. Vice Minister Liu Xiaoming has already offered his perspective on this topic, I completely agree with that, and now I'd like to give my comments.

Firstly, integrating with new technology allows a traditional industry like transportation to create new types of business. Thanks to more convenient service, these new forms have become popular. Our attitudes towards them are active support, better assistance and fully cooperation. 

Secondly, like all new things, such businesses are less than perfect and probably bring with them new problems, requiring new ideas in management and supervision. In regard to these new problems and requirements, our attitude can be summed up as inclusive encouragement, prudent management, and regulated development.

Thirdly, both the traditional industry and new types of business are directly serving the people, and are closely connected to people's life and the safety of their property. Transportation concerns everyone's health, property and life. Therefore, all practitioners, no matter whether in the traditional industry or new types of business, have to give top priority to the related safety aspects. Safety is the unchallenged bottom line, so the focus of our supervision of these new types of business is also safety.

Fourthly, new forms of transportation have significance in regard to economic development, employment opportunities and sci-tech innovation. In order to provide the best possible management and services for better development and application, governments, enterprises and all walks of life should make joint efforts. Thank you.

Guangming Daily:

What are the achievements we have made in shaping the comprehensive transport system for reinforcing the integration of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province and facilitating the construction of Xiong'an New Area?

Li Xiaopeng:

Thank you. The question concerns the integration of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province and the construction of Xiong'an New Area. The coordinated development and integration of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province is a major strategic deployment of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core. At the same time, the historic construction of Xiong'an New Area stems from President Xi's initiative, decision and promotion. Last year, the ministry worked in the following aspects, focusing on the two undertakings.

First, we have reinforced top design aspects. We have issued numerous plans and measures to enhance this, such as, "The Implementation Opinions on the Construction of Comprehensive Transport System in Hebei Xiong'an New Area with the Support of the Ministry of Transport (2018-2020)" and the "Three-year Action Plan for the Integration of the Transport System Involving Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province and the Comprehensive Transport System of Xiong'an New Area (2018-2020)."

Second, we have facilitated the construction of arterial roads connecting Xiong'an New Area and surrounding areas, started construction of the Beijing-Xiong'an Intercity Railway and accelerated work on a number of construction projects exemplified by the Tianjin-Shijiazhuang [capital of Hebei province] Superhighway.

Third, we have pressed ahead with coordinated development for the integration of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province, completing a beltway connecting Tongzhou and Daxing district, around the southeast to southern areas of Beijing. The construction of Beijing Daxing International Airport is now nearing completion and projects linked to the Winter Olympics, such as, the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway and Yanqing-Chongli Superhighway are progressing smoothly. 

Besides, we have restructured the transport system to further promote integration.

In 2019, we'll improve our work in the following aspects: First, we'll continue to accelerate the construction of the major traffic system comprising the Beijing-Xiong'an Intercity Railway, the Tianjin-Shijiazhuang Superhighway and the Beijing-Xiong'an and Xiong'an-Shangqiu sections of the Beijing-Hongkong-Taiwan High Speed Railway. Second, we will accelerate work on the Beijing section of the Beijing-Shenyang [capital of Liaoning province] High Speed Railway, Datong-Zhangjiakou High Speed Railway and the Zunhua-Qinhuangdao [Hebei province] of the Beijing-Qinhuangdao Superhighway. We will also accelerate the construction of green ports, in Tianjin and Hebei province, as well as coordinated development of various airports in the region. Third, we will speed up transport system restructuring, directing long-distance and bulky commodities transportation to choose railways or waterways to alleviate the pressure on the roads. 

Fourth, we will speed up Winter Olympics-related construction. Fifth, we will endeavor to provide a good transport service to ensure this year's Beijing World Horticultural Exposition is run successfully. Thanks.


We notice that converting the expressway manned  toll booths for mobile payment is on the ministry's 12 things-to-do list in 2019. How is the work progressing now? And what has still to be done? Thank you. 

Li Xiaopeng: 

Thank you for your question. Mobile payment is very convenient and popular. So far, among the 29 provinces forming the country's expressway toll network, 14 have introduced mobile payments at the toll booths, and the other 15 are speeding up their efforts to meet this goal. All the work is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, with mobile payment covering all the manned toll lanes.

However, we still suggest people use the electronic toll collection (ETC) system which is more convenient and environmentally friendly. 

Thank you.

Phoenix TV:

This is a question on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The area is an important strategic deployment of the country. As the Greater Bay Area aims to integrate its transport systems, what infrastructural development plans does the Ministry of Transport have for the Greater Bay Area?

Li Xiaopeng:

Thanks for the question on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. It is fair to say that transport infrastructural facilities are of great importance for the development of the Greater Bay Area. As of now, the Greater Bay Area has relatively good transport infrastructure facilities; in the future, it needs to be further improved and developed. On Feb. 28, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council published the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. According to the central authority's deployment, the Ministry of Transport is working on the Guideline Opinions on the Greater Bay Area Transport Development. It lays out some key tasks, which may be of interest to you. 

There are seven aspects. The first aspect is to promote comprehensive foreign-bound transportation aisle construction. The second aspect is to construct rapid transportation networks in the Greater Bay Area. The third aspect is to improve the international competitiveness of the port cluster in the Pearl River Delta. There are many ports in the Pearl River Delta, and the ports' development level is comparatively high. The next step is to improve its international competitiveness. The fourth aspect is to build a world-class airport cluster. There are many airports in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The next task is to coordinate these airports to help them play more significant roles by improving the efficiency and raising their service levels. The fifth aspect is to enhance the service for both travelers and cargo. After the roads are built, ports are upgraded, and airports are developed, the service level for transport of goods and travelers should be further improved. The sixth aspect is to improve the ability of transport science and technology innovation. The seventh is to build a green ecological transport system. We need to ensure the safety, convenience, and efficiency of the transport of travelers and goods. Moreover, the transport infrastructural facilities and the transport itself should be energy-saving and environmentally friendly.

Next, we will act in accordance with the CPC Central Committee and the State Council's decision and deployment to implement the development plan. We will give full support for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to accelerate the construction of a modern comprehensive transport system with global competitiveness and influence, and promote the development of the Greater Bay Area. Thank you.

Hu Kaihong:

We will hold a press conference on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area this afternoon. You are welcome to attend the meeting and raise questions on this topic.

China Daily:

Good morning, Mr. Li. Just now, you spoke of new forms of transport. Here I would like to ask one more question about bike sharing. We all know that the bike sharing company Ofo has stalled on its deposit refunds in the last several months. Currently, there are still more than 10 million online applications for deposit refunds. So, how will the Ministry of Transport respond to the recent problems of the developing bike sharing industry, M. Li?

Li Xiaopeng:

Thank you. Mr. Liu will take your question.

Liu Xiaoming:

Thank you for your question. Bike sharing is a new form of transport, combining the mobile internet and bike rental, which has enjoyed a very rapid development in recent years. It has provided a new convenient choice for people to travel short-distances, playing a very important role in building a green urban travel system.

However, like any other new business form, there are various problems with the developing bike sharing industry: some enterprises have failed to fulfill their due responsibilities, some are involved in vicious competition, shared bikes are messily parked everywhere, and users' rights and interests have not been fully guaranteed.

In August 2017, ten departments jointly issued guidelines on encouraging and regulating online bicycle rental, in which they clearly stated the requirements for user deposit management. However, the guidelines fail to be well implemented in some bike-sharing enterprises. As a result, deposit security and stability risk has become quite a prominent issue. In some cases, enterprises embezzled deposits and could not refund deposits to users. This has aroused widespread concern from the society and also caused many adverse effects.

We have attached great importance to the issue and have taken the following corresponding measures.

First, we have worked with the member units of the inter-ministerial joint conference on coordinated oversight regarding new forms of transport to conduct careful analysis and judgment.

Second, we have guided local transportation departments to make appropriate plans to deal with the problem in accordance with law and fulfill their due responsibilities under the leadership of local government.

Third, we have urged related bike-sharing platforms and enterprises to provide easy and quick access for users to get back their deposits, so as to protect the legitimate rights and interests of users.

Fourth, we are working to strengthen the management of deposits and establish a long-term management system. The Ministry of Transport, the People's Bank of China and other related departments are working together to make relevant measures for the management of user's funds in new forms of transport, including their deposits.

The relevant requirements set out in the instructions from the 10 departments in 2017 are very clear. The first is to encourage enterprises to waive deposits and provide services through credit. The second is to provide services in the form of rent-and-deposit and rent-and-refund. The third is to provide service by means of a deposit with the consent of the user. However, the instructions are also clear that to collect user deposits, the operating company must assume the main responsibility and be strict in the use and management of the deposits. If a user applies for a refund of the deposit, the enterprise must return it in a timely and unconditional manner.

Next, we and the People's Bank of China and related departments need to accelerate the promulgation of measures of deposit management. At the same time, we must work with departments to strengthen the management of deposits, to ensure that deposits go into specific funds, are earmarked for particular use, and cannot be misappropriated. Everyone knows very well that the new modes of transportation are crossover services and crossover operations. The corresponding supervision work requires multi-sector cooperation. With the approval of the State Council, there is now a joint meeting mechanism for the coordination of new modes of transportation. The mechanism will create better conditions for the development of our new modes, and at the same time, we can better strengthen supervision, provide better travel services for the people, and safeguard their interests. Thank you.

Li Xiaopeng:

I think Vice Minister Liu Xiaoming responded in a very clear way to your question. However, I still feel it's worth adding a few more words on this subject. First, bicycle-sharing emerged as a new transportation form offering convenience for people. We encourage and support the operation. Second, the developing bicycle sharing industry is facing a host of problems which have drawn our great concern, such as, parking issues and the guarantee deposit system. We hope it can be addressed with the joint efforts of the different parties. Enterprises, society and governments should make concerted efforts to create a good environment and address emergent problems, ensuring the shared bicycle network can better serve the people. Third, regarding the guarantee deposit aspect, Mr. Liu has made clear we intend to make sure people can enjoy it freely. If the companies insist on some advance payment , they should work out standardized management according to relevant laws. They should strictly follow every regulation stipulating the ways of renting, charging and refunding, adopting specialized and standardized management approaches. Customers are entitled to retrieve the deposit quickly as required. We will enhance our supervision and push relevant regional administrations to address the needs of bicycle sharing in an appropriate way. Those are a few of extra points that I would like to share with you. Thank you.

China News Service:

How does the building of Beijing Daxing International Airport go? When will it come into service? What are the respective tasks for Beijing's two international airports? What are their specific positions? Thank you.

Li Xiaopeng:

Thanks for your question. Building Beijing Daxing International Airport on the border of Beijing's Daxing district and Hebei province's Langfang city is an important national project. It is of great significance for Beijing to optimize its functions and industries. It is also very important for Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei transport integration and the building of the Xiongan New Area.

Started at the end of 2014, construction work has basically finished. Four runways have been connected; the terminal is being equipped and decorated; roof sealing of the five function areas in the bases of China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines has been completed. The western control tower has been capped; air control facilities are being deployed, and the aviation fuel pipeline will soon be connected. Thus, the building of the airport has entered the home stretch. 

The airport conducted its first test flight on Jan. 22 and completed all flight checks on Feb. 24, 19 days earlier than expected. We are shifting our focus from construction to preparing for its opening. We aim to finish all the construction work by June 30 and put it into operation by Sept. 30. Related departments are exerting every effort to achieve this schedule. 

Your question pertains to the functions and positions of the two airports. Some time ago, the Civil Aviation Administration of China issued a document defining the positions of the two airports. 

Beijing Daxing International Airport is positioned as a large international aviation and transportation hub in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region to bolster the construction of the Xiongan New Area and serve as the new engine of national development. Largely relying on the bases of China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines, the new airport will build a well-functioning airline network. The airport will be able to handle 45 million passengers by 2021 and 72 million passengers by 2025.

Beijing Capital International Airport is also positioned as a large international aviation hub, and as a complex hub in the Asia-Pacific region, supporting the core functions of the capital. Serving as the base for Air China, Beijing Capital International Airport will restructure its flight routes, strengthen its transit capacity and increase its international competitiveness. The airport has set out goals for 2020 and 2025 to boost its capacity and services. 

The two airports will coordinate and compete with each other to move toward the goal of building themselves into "double hubs" and help form a world-class airport cluster in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. Thank you.

Hu Kaihong:

Given our tight schedule, we will now take the final question.

Workers' Daily:

My question is, what has the transportation industry done to support the Yangtze River Economic Belt strategy, and what is the work plan for the next stage? Thanks.

Liu Xiaoming:

Let me take the question from Workers' Daily. The Ministry of Transport carefully studied and implemented the spirit of the important speech of General Secretary Xi Jinping of the Communist Party of China Central Committee last year, and we highlighted key tasks and made significant achievements related to the Yangtze River Economic Belt comprehensive transportation corridor construction. First, the development of green transport was deepened, and the emissions control zone was expanded to include key coastal waters and the main line of the Yangtze River. A total of 1,361 illegal ports along the Yangtze River were renovated, while 556 cases of illegal sand excavation were cracked.

Second, the functions of the golden waterway have been further improved. The 12.5-meter deep channel of the Yangtze River downstream from Nanjing, Jiangsu province, was finished half a year in advance, and was put into trial operation. The northeast channel and the second stage of the Anqing project, along with other key projects, were completed. Meanwhile, several projects were begun, including the 6-meter deep channel from Wuhan to Anqing, the first stage of Yangtze River southern delta flume channel renovation, the Yangtze River-Huaihe River water transfer shipping project, and the Hangzhou section of the Beijing-Hangzhou Canal. The channel network is gradually taking shape, with increasingly more branch channels being linked to the main channels.

Third, comprehensive transportation infrastructure recorded remarkable achievements. The Hangzhou-Ruili high-speed road was opened to traffic. A total of 13,700 kilometers of rural roads in the middle and upper regions of the Yangtze River were built or renovated. About 2,500 more villages were connected by roads. The construction of the Chengdu-Chongqing-Shanghai high-speed railway along the Yangtze River has been planned, and preliminary work has started simultaneously in different sections. Airport projects in Yueyang, Hunan province, and Bazhou, Sichuan province, were finished and opened for use.

Fourth, the organization of transportation is continually being optimized. The first 20,000-ton Yangtze River-sea bulk cargo ship, a 1,140-container river-sea ship and a 124-container river-sea ship were all put into service.

The ministry will continue to extend ecological preservation through intensive and economical utilization of shoreline resources, as well as standardization of ship type and promotion of clean energy, all under the concept of "joint protection, no excessive development." The ministry will actively deploy the Central Economic Work Conference and carry out its work plan regarding the construction of a comprehensive transportation system in the Yangtze River Economic Belt. According to the requirements of integrated design, works will highlight the respective advantages of railway, road and water transport, in order to form an efficient, intensive and green comprehensive transportation system.

The three key jobs now are as follows: First, we will continue to improve the Yangtze River golden waterway's functionality, and carry out a series of large-scale projects such as the 6-meter deep channel from Wuhan to Anqing, and advance work related to new channels of the Three Gorges hub. Second, we will advance the planning and construction of a high-speed railway along the Yangtze River, optimize and improve the regional road network, and advance the construction of a world-class airport cluster in the Yangtze River Delta. Finally, we will continuously optimize the management of transportation, strive to develop river-sea, main line-branch line and multimodal transportation, and carry out other related projects. Thank you.

Li Xiaopeng:

The Ministry of Transport has faithfully implemented the instructions given by General Secretary Xi on developing the Yangtze River Economic Belt and has carried out a series of projects in 2018, including golden watercourse construction, works on energy conservation, environmental protection, and ecological improvement, as well as adjustment of the transportation structure. And those works have seen some effective outcomes. In the next stage, we will, in line with the decisions and plans of the Party Central Committee and the State Council, focus on building an integrated, multidimensional transportation corridor, step up on advancing the golden watercourse, promote energy conservation and environmental protection, and boost efforts to adjust the transport structure, so as to make the Yangtze River an energy-saving and environmentally friendly golden watercourse. Thank you.

Hu Kaihong:

That's all for today's press conference. Thank you, Mr. Li and Mr. Liu. And thanks to everyone here today.

By Huang Shan, Yuan Fang, Li Xiaohua, Zhang Liying, Li Huiru, Li Jingrong, Zhang Rui, Wu Jin, He Shan, Fan Junmei, Li Xiao, Lin Liyao, Wang Qian, He Shan, Wang Wei, Li Shen, Wang Yanfang, Jennifer Fossenbell, Laura Zheng, Jay Birbeck, Geoffrey Murray

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