Why the snow crisis happened in China
The recent extreme cold weather and snowfalls almost handicapped the transportation of the whole <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />China. What makes the situation worse is that it happened during the Chinese traditional lunar New Year when most migrant workers go home and spend the holiday with their families. For those who are outside China might not understand why such things even happen. The sum-up reasons are as followings.
First of all, the number of going-home migrant workers is huge at around 140 million, almost the population of a middle size European country. Most of them work in factories of Guangdong Province, one of the richest provinces in China, so most of they will depart in the same train station—the biggest terminal of China sending them to cities all over China. Every year the transportation during this period make headline news and receive the most public attention. Considering the volume of the passengers, it is a great burden for the rail transportation department.
Secondly, for these migrant workers, a majority of them work far away from their hometowns and the only chance to go back home is the one-week-long lunar New Year. After one-year hard labor outside, home is their luxury and bringing earned money back is also a tradition to show their contribution to the family.
Thirdly, usually the South China will not have snow days in winter, so they didn’t expect the extreme weather and had no emergency plan to deal with the frozen railway. The ice dragged down the rail wires causing the electricity offline. Without the electricity powering the train, the transportation is frozen along with 140 million workers.
Fourthly, there is a shortage supply of coal to generate electricity. The oil price is high now in China so most of the state coal suppliers are reluctant to transport coal to electricity corporations. The situation is aggravated by the heavy snow. In this case they have to buy coal from other private coal suppliers who are likely to raise the price, but electricity corporations can’t raise the price due to the already high CPI. In consequence the profit margin of electricity corporations is reduced. And this is last scenario they would like to see and thus it affects their sentiment to supply electricity efficiently.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />