Meeting The most important source of energy is undoubtedly coal which supenergy plies 73% of the nation’s requirements with oil the second largest requirements (17%). There are also major hydro-electric power stations on the Huanghe with Liujiaxia, Longyangxia and Sanmenxia as the most important. Other sites are located in the north-east on the Songhua (Sungari) and to the south in Guangxi and Guizhou. Nevertheless shortages still occur as industry’s energy needs continue to grow and new production methods rely on energy-intensive processes. In 1992 electricity production increased by 10%, while demand increased by 35%. Insufficient investment and the development of new reserves are the main reasons for the inadequate power supply network. Sanxia dam At Yichang on the Changjiang a huge dam which will serve as a source of power, prevent floods and aid irrigation has been opposed on ecological grounds. The biggest of its kind in the world – 185m/606ft high and 1983m/6504ft wide – the Sanxia dam will supply eight times as much power as the Aswan dam. However, 1 million people in over 20 towns and countless villages will be displaced and 28,700ha/70,890 acres flooded.
Traditional ceramic painting Of all the light industries, textiles with its high production levels occu- Textiles pies the leading position. The cotton industry supplies two-thirds of total textile production.
Silkworm cultivation and thread processing are traditional industries in the south of the country between the Changjiang and the Zhujiang and also in Shandong province, the home of tussore silk, and Sichuan.
Ceramics and porcelain production play a significant role in the Chi- Ceramics and nese economy. Southeast asia (globetrotter travel map) Although the industry does not deliver the high quality porcelain products of previous centuries, business is prospering and factories are turning out quality goods for the domestic market and for export.
The south of the country is the traditional home of these skills and each province is noted for its special techniques or decorative style.
Communications Although the transport network has been extended in recent decades, it has not been able to keep pace with the economy’s growth rate. The major problems continue to be the overloaded railway system and the inadequate roads.
The 1 million kilometres (650,000 miles) of roads are often of a poor Road network, standard. Only 23% of the main trunk roads are metalled. In recent road transport years, the number of motor vehicles has increased dramatically to 5.5 million, of which 3.6 million are goods vehicles and 1.6 million private cars.
Only 1% of Chinese people own a car. Subject to high duties and taxes, imported vehicles are extremely expensive but even cars of Chinese manufacture are out of the reach of the average Chinese citizen. The bicycle is still the most popular form of transport.