In yet another blow to the environment, the Chinese government is launching a massive expansion of its road network to accommodate its fast-emerging car culture. By 2010, the country says major roads will span a total of 22,000 miles in and between major cities, including Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai; by 2020, it hopes to have doubled the expansion to 44,000 miles. The only areas with no projected new motorways are Tibet and its north-west neighbor Qinghai Province. Last week, when addressing a forum on road development, Hu Xijie, China’s vice minister of communications, promised to “basically eliminate the traffic jam” by the year 2010. Shanghai’s new road plan will dramatically limit bicycles in the inner city and allow for a one-third growth in motor-vehicle traffic.
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