Traveling in China at the wrong—or maybe the right—time

January 8, 2014

If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience an overpopulated world, it’s easy to discover what that feels like.  Just travel to China during its Lunar New Year. For 2014, that day will be January 31, the year of the horse. reported: Hundreds of millions of Chinese travel home to celebrate the Lunar New Year. It’s the largest human migration on earth—and it stretches the country’s transportation system to the limit.

My sister and her youngest daughter traveled with us to China in 2008 during the Lunar New Year—both are evangelical Christians and they didn’t believe in China’s one-child policy or abortion rights for women anywhere.

Then they arrived in China and experienced the largest annual migration in history. That’s when they stopped preaching about the one-child policy and abortion. But they didn’t offer any support for abortion either. There was just a shocked silence

It was so crowded at times it felt as if we were swimming in a sea of people, and I decided that my next trip to China will not be near the end of January or early in February. The old rail system in China barely managed to move the 220 million people who traveled home that year to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year with family.

To deal with this migration, China’s high-speed rail system will become the largest, fastest, and most technologically advanced high-speed rail system in the world by 2020. The plans are to build 50,000 km of high-speed rail with trains reaching speeds of 180 miles per hour. About 18,000 kilometers of high-speed rail have already been completed for a project that started five years ago. In 2014, China’s high-speed rail network will be able to carry 54 million people a month.

If you’re ready to visit China, hurry and book your flight now to arrive a few days before the Lunar New Year.

Discover Harbin’s Winter Wonderland


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Really Fast Trains in and from China

August 13, 2010

Devin Coldewey at Crunch Gear writes about plans for future-trains in China that may run at speeds of 1000 kilometers or 620 miles an hour.

China is looking into increasing speeds for longer distances by using maglev trains without air resistance by building vacuum-sealed tunnels. Today’s maglev trains with air resistance are capable of hitting speeds of about 500 km/h.

Darren Murph at also wrote about these super-fast trains.  Darren mentions that China says they will have maglev trains ready in three years.  In fact, they have one now outside Shanghai. I have ridden the maglev train that runs from Pudong Airport to Shanghai. It seldom hits its top speed for the short trip, but it is smooth and fast—a few minutes compared to more than forty in a taxi or bus.

To reach speeds of 1000 km/h means more money. Each kilometer to build these vacuum tubes will cost an extra $2.95 million American. I have a question. What happens if the vacuum tube springs a leak?

Darren ends with “Pony up, taxpayers!”, but that’s not how the Chinese raise money.  Most money in China comes from the profits of state-run banks, industries and duties on imports and exports not on income or property, although that may be changing as China studies how the US government raises money.

China is also planning to build high-speed rail from Beijing to London. Source: The Sydney Morning Herald Traveller

See China On the Fast Track


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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China Ends July with another First

August 7, 2010

China already leads the world in high-speed rail, solar power and wind turbine manufacturing.

Now, Spencer Swartz and Shai Oster report in the Wall Street Journal that “China has passed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest energy consumer, according to new data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), a milestone that reflects both China’s decades-long burst of economic growth and its rapidly expanding influence as an industrial giant.”

China disagrees with the IEA’s announcement but that doesn’t matter.

Even if China were correct, it wouldn’t be long before China did pass the US in energy consumption since the latest five-year plan is extending the electrical grid into rural China to send electricity to 700 million more people.

In fact, as China modernizes and catches up with the US and Europe, more energy will be required to power all those rural homes. Even if the Chinese do not consume as much as those in the US, that is still a lot of electricity.

This begs an answer for the question the Slate asks with How Communist is China? After all, General Motors sold more cars in China than in the US in the first half of 2010. And let’s not mention the Golden Arches, KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks.

Since China abandoned Maoism and Marxism, the Middle Kingdom has been rewriting the rules for capitalist growth. The irony is that politically, China is ruled by a single political party with an unpopular name in the West—a name that doesn’t fit any longer.

Maybe China’s government should call itself the People’s Collective Party.

See Volting all of China into the 21st Century


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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Getting the Job Done

May 4, 2010

How can America stay competitive in the global marketplace when the infrastructure in America is wearing out, and it’s time consuming and frustrating to get anything done?

John Hockenberry–a former ABC and NBC reporter and now the host for a New York public-radio morning talk show–had the answer. He said on his show that he was yearning for a Chinese dictatorship in America to get things done.

John Hockenberry

What Hockenberry said was true. The Chinese do get things done. He was wrong about one thing. China is not a dictatorship.

A few years into the 21st century, we were in China sleeping on the blanket-covered floor of my father-in-law’s flat in the old French sector of Shanghai. His three rooms were on the second floor of a three-story building that once belonged to a French family prior to World War II. Now seven families lived in that building. What had been a walk-in-closet had been converted into a kitchen/bathroom. The balcony had been closed in—that’s where we were sleeping.

High block walls surrounded the houses in the French sector. When we woke up and left the flat to visit the local farmer’s market, the walls were gone as if they’d never been. 

Later, we learned that the Shanghai city government decided to open the city and the best way to do that was to remove the walls. An army of workers came in the night and removed the walls without waking us up.

That’s what John Hockenberry was talking about. The ability of China’s government to move fast.

Follow this link to learn more about high-speed rail in China.