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Cablegate: Guangzhou Train Station Returns to Normal Holiday

VZCZCXRO9612
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHGZ #0074 0360915
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 050915Z FEB 08
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6864
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASH DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS GUANGZHOU 000074

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELTN SOCI PGOV ELAB ECON CH
SUBJECT: Guangzhou Train Station Returns to Normal Holiday
Operations


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

1. (SBU) Summary: Guangzhou Train Station sent 200,000 passengers
home February 4, with air and bus lines also operating at full
holiday capacity. Access control restrictions have been lifted,
providing the first opportunity for Consulate employees to enter
Railway Station Square in over a week. Unused tickets are still
refundable and sales have commenced for travel between February 7
and 9. The CEO of a major appliance company in Shunde which employs
50,000 workers told the Consul General that he had been asked by the
government to keep the factory open during the New Year's period so
that workers would have a focus for their energies. End summary.

2. (U) Media reported 200,000 passengers departing Guangzhou Rail
Station February 4. Guangzhou Railway Company projected smooth
operations for the rest of the week as only 120,000 tickets remain
available for departures today and New Year's Eve (February 6). At
current capacity, all stranded passengers with valid tickets can
depart by tomorrow and many will arrive home on New Year's Day
(February 7). Guangzhou's air and bus departures on February 4 also
moved record numbers of passengers, although weather conditions at
many Central and North China destinations still caused delays.

3. (SBU) Security barriers have been opened, although police remain
in position to re-close the area if necessary. Pedestrians now have
full access to the train station area, providing the first
opportunity in over a week for Congenoffs to walk around Railway
Station Square. Crowds in the square remained large, but orderly,
as they formed groups according to final destination. Police
checked tickets and admitted passengers to the train station with
none of the jostling or rushing seen in previous days.

4. (SBU) Ticket sales have resumed for train departures between
February 7 and 9, with refunds continuing for unused train tickets.
Approximately 100 sales and refund windows were opened to the public
at the Canton Fair Jinhua Convention Center, which is within walking
distance from the Guangzhou Train Station. Scalpers were evident
outside the sales building and on street corners near the station
area. Despite media reports of disorder caused by ticket scalpers,
transactions inside and outside the convention center appeared
normal to Congenoffs, with police and other security closely
watching all areas.

5. (SBU) The CEO of Galanz, a major appliance company in Shunde (in
the Pearl River Delta), told the Consul General on February 4 that
Guangdong government officials had asked him to keep his factories,
which employ 50,000 people, open during the Spring Holiday season.
Those who were unable to return home - at least half of the workers
- will be able to make money, which will soften somewhat their
missing traditional celebrations. In addition, the company will
keep dorms open, continue to provide food for the workers and even
organize entertainment and games. The fact that the government came
calling and made this request did not surprise the CEO (who was
recently named the equivalent of China's Businessman of the Year);
what did surprise him was how accepting the workers have been
throughout this situation and how understanding they have been of
the problems encountered by the local and national governments.

GOLDBERG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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