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Cablegate: Crowds Persist at Train Station

VZCZCXRO7015
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHGZ #0062 0320954
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 010954Z FEB 08
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6851
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASH DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS GUANGZHOU 000062

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELTN SOCI PGOV ELAB ECON CH
SUBJECT: Crowds Persist at Train Station


(U) This document is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: Thousands of stranded travelers have successfully
departed Guangzhou's train station in the last two days, but
progress has attracted as many as 200,000 more travelers to the
station. Police efforts to maintain general control appeared
effective even as isolated incidents of disorder occurred. End
summary.

Trains Take Away Thousands; Thousands More Come
--------------------------------------------- --

2. (U) Media reports indicated 116 trains left Guangzhou's two train
stations on January 31, carrying approximately 200,000 passengers
home for the Lunar New Year. Guangzhou Railway estimates of how
long it would take to clear the backlog have varied, but the railway
finally conceded today that it would be impossible to send all
ticket holders home before New Year's Eve on February 6.

3. (SBU) Thousands of additional travelers have arrived at the area
surrounding the main Guangzhou train station since service resumed.
Many of the newly arriving travelers told Congenoffs they decided to
travel today after seeing media reports of restored rail services.
Xinhua News Agency criticized conflicting and overly-positive
messages in today's Guangzhou Daily Newspaper, predicting that such
news would cause increased demand for travel services at Guangzhou's
train stations.

General Order and Minor Incidents as People Move
--------------------------------------------- ---

4. (SBU) Despite general order at police roadblocks and traffic
control points, Congenoff witnessed occasional outbursts as
frustrated travelers struggled to find a path that would lead into
the Rail Station Square and subsequently allow them to enter the
station. Police and military presence remained heavy. Their
efforts appeared to be well coordinated, but Congenoff observed some
people tripping and others pushing as they were directed from a
holding area into the station square. Congenoff also saw an
isolated incident of three travelers beating a fourth after accusing
him of stealing a wallet. Police eventually broke up the fight.

GOLDBERG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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