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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: China's Future MEGAPROJECTS (2019-2050's)

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China is in the midst of a construction spree unparalleled in human history. Over the course

of just 40 years, the Chinese will be adding a layer of infrastructure that will rival

what we in the United States have built in our entire past.

These are the Megaprojects that will lift China into the future.

China wants to make its capital, Beijing, the center of the worlds largest supercity,

by merging three provinces into one continuous megalopolis of 130 million people. Thats

six times the population of New York.

The region is called Jing-Jin-Ji. It will tie together the cities in the three provinces

along the Bohai Bay rim using advanced communications networks, new high-speed rail and subway lines,

and better highways.

Reports are that Beijings focus will be culture and technology, Tianjin will become

a research base for manufacturing, and Hebei will be the new home of many of the federal

bureaucracy jobs that will be relocated from the capital.

The project has the full backing of President Xi Jinping to catch the area up to Chinas

more economically prosperous regions, like what Shanghai and Nanjing have got going on

in the Yangtze River Delta.

Covering roughly the total land area of the US state of Kansas, Jing-Jin-Ji will be unlike

anything seen before in the history of mankind.

And even though its still a work in progress -- part of a long-term vision -- thats

not stopping people from moving into areas that are completely unready for them. “The

services are bad,” says a salesman who commutes a total of five hours a day on congested roads.

His 6-year-old child has more than 65 kids in his class.

They live in Yanjiao, one of the many tower-filled suburbs that are sprouting up all across Jing-Jin-Ji.

Yanjiao has about ¾ of a million residents, but just two very small parks and no bus terminals.

Why is this the case?

Because corruption is perceived as rampant at the local level in China, the central government

doesnt allow cities to keep the little tax revenues they do collect. So communities

like Yanjiao have no way to pay for desperately-needed schools, roads or enough buses to adequately

serve their citizens.

The most vital piece of infrastructure that will help fix a lot of these problems is still

being built, Jing-Jin-Jis high speed rail network. With trains that can hit 185 miles

per hour, urban areas that were previously confined by the 60 miles per hour speeds of

a car or subway or train, can now greatly expand.

All those people filling the megacities in the North have a shortage of the single most

necessary resource for life: water. To solve that problem, the Chinese will soon be moving

44.8 billion cubic meters of fresh water each year from the wetter South to the dryer North.

There will be three canals in the project, a 716 mile-long Eastern Canal that will begin

at the Yangtze River and snake uphill, with the help of more than 20 pumping stations,

to reservoirs in Tianjin.

Route two will flow downhill from the Danjiangkou Reservoir on the Han river 785 miles across

the North China Plain to Beijing.

And the third route is the Big Western Line. Its still in its planning phase, but it

will divert water from the rivers flowing into the Yangtze, sending it to the Yellow

River instead.

The Central Government has rammed this project through despite many concerns over pollution

and the forced relocation of hundreds of thousands of villagers. Its also late and over budget

due to the soaring costs of building bridges and tunnels for the canals to cross the many

rivers and highways in its way. Then there are the fears that diverting water from the

Yangtze River could cause the worlds third-longest river to run low, devastating those whose

livelihoods depend on it.

One proposed solution to this problem is to give the Yangtze more water by redirecting

rivers in southwestern China. But this would affect India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand,

Cambodia, and Vietnam, potentially causing an international crisis.

For the immediate future though, the South-to-North water Transfer Project is a done deal. Following

the example of the American West in the previous century, China has completely reshaped its

environment using dams and canals, allowing for the arid North to support tens of millions

more residents than it otherwise could.

As the worlds most populous country, it makes sense China would have the worlds

busiest airport, and when the Beijing Daxing International Airport opens in 2018, it will.

With a maximum capacity of 130 million passengers a year, it will be significantly busier than

the worlds current busiest airport [Atlantas Hartsfield-Jackson].

To make this work, Beijing-Daxings main terminal will sprawl over 7.5-million square-feet.

Its unique starfish design was created by Zaha Hadid Architects toprovide an

exceptional passenger experience with minimal walking and increased connectivity."

The new Mega-Airport could have as many as nine runways: eight for civilian use and one

for the military, and will cover more than 6,600 acres in southern Daxing along its border

with Hebei province.

Construction will cost around $13 billion, and will include a dedicated high speed rail

line to connect the airport to the rest of Beijings transportation system.

Beijings existing Capital International Airport is already running well over-capacity

and has become the second busiest in the world even though it just opened in 2008. So to

ease congestion, it will stay open, providing the Jing-Jin-Ji supercity with two mega-airports.

But its not just passenger congestion that makes it hard to fly in China. Some analysts

say the root of the problem is that the military controls 80% of the airspace, which forces

civilian aircraft to operate in narrow corridors, slowing them down. Thats why flight delays

are rampant throughout the country.

But thats an issue China can and will fix, because it knows that while the 20th century

was the century of the automobile, the 21st will be dominated by the airplane, especially

once faster, more efficient aircraft are introduced, making it even easier and cheaper to get around

our increasingly interconnected planet.

The Chinese arent just flying in record numbers, theyre falling in love all over

again with the preferred method of travel in the 20th century, as hundreds of millions

of Chinese acquire middle class status and the extra income to afford cars. This is presenting

a relatively new challenge: heavy congestion on their motorways. So to tackle this problem,

China has set itself apart from the rest of the world by embracing high speed rail at

a breakneck pace. Its goal to build a system with more than 35,000 kilometers of track

is now more than half complete, making it one of the most expensive megaprojects in


The other reason behind this plan is to allow people to commute to work from much farther

distances than they could than if they had to drive, making high speed rail the key to

urbanization. And because China has as much high speed rail as every other country combined,

it will have more and more of the worlds largest cities.

In fact, of the top 10 urban areas on Earth with more than 20 million people, three of

them are in Chinaand those cities are growing so fast that two of the three werent in

the top 10 last year.

The explosion in high speed rail in China is especially mind-blowing when you consider

that it was first introduced there in 2007, thats less than a decade ago. Since then,

daily ridership has grown from 237,000 to over 2.5 million.

To accommodate all those passengers, its Railway Ministry has swelled, and now has

the same number of employees as there are civilians working for the entire United States


China got to this point under the heavy-handed leadership of Minister of Railways Liu Zhijun,

orGreat Leap Liu,” who pushed his patriotic workers in shifts around the clock to plan

and build rail lines as fast as possible. He famously said, “to achieve a great leap,

a generation must be sacrificed.” Liu meant his workers, but when a poorly designed signaling

system caused a dramatic crash on a viaduct high above a valley in 2011, it was clear

that some of the first generation of passengers would be sacrificed as well.

News anchor: “Chinas railway system has been plagued with problems including corruption

and quality concerns. Authorities have come under fire for the way theyve handled the

accident, especially when they buried several carriages before carrying out an investigation.”

Bryce: But, despite the 40 deaths - and more than 200 injuries - in the Wenzhou train collision,

the attempts of the government to cover the disaster up, and Great Leap Lius subsequent

fall from grace, the high speed rail boom in China has roared on and the system is now

considered to be among the safest modes of transportation in the entire world.

It also leads the globe in annual ridership, has the longest single service at 2,400 km

from Harbin to Wuhan and has the fastest commercially operated train with peak speeds of 430 km/h.

Now, having successfully linked up much of its own country with high speed rail, China

aims to do the same for the rest of the world. It is building systems in Turkey, Saudi Arabia,

and South America, and is bidding on projects in Russia, Brazil, Myanmar, and the United


Now for the most dangerous project on the agenda. The worlds longest underwater tunnel

will connect the cities of Dalian and Yantai across the Bohai Sea, passing through two

deadly earthquake fault zones. At 76 miles long it will be longer than the current first

and second-ranked underwater tunnels combined, and at a cost of $42 billion, it will be extremely

expensive. But the Chinese calculate that it will be worth it.

For one, it will slash the eight hour drive between the two cities to under two hours.

It will also connect Chinas isolated northern rustbelt with its wealthy east coast, adding

an additional $3.7 billion to the economy each year.

The experience could also establish the Chinese as the preeminent submarine diggers in the

world, and would be a serious practice run for far more ambitious potential future Mega-MEGA-projects

like connecting China to South Korea, or even Russia to the United States across the Bering

Strait--yes, that has actually been proposed.

This isnt the first underwater tunnel project for Chinese engineers, either, who already

gained some experience by completing the 3.8 mile-long Jiaozhou Bay Tunnel in 2011. But

while the Bohai Sea is roughly the same depth as Jiaozhou Bay, the tunnel underneath it

will be 20 times longer.

When it comes to construction, if theyre lucky, the Chinese will encounter only soft

seabed, allowing them to use Tunnel-Boring Machines the whole way. But if they run into

harder rock, theyre going to have to use thedrill-and-blastmethod embraced

by the Japanese during construction of the Seikhan Tunnel. Using tons of dynamite hundreds

of feet underwater is dangerous business, and it resulted in the unfortunate deaths

of four workers over the course of that project, and maaaany accidental leaks.

Reporter: “In 1976 the project hit its biggest crisis when 80 tons of seawater a minute began

leaking in. 1.5 km of tunnel flooded. It took five months to get back on track.”

Bryce: The Bohai Tunnel will also have to withstand magnitude 8.0 earthquakes. In 1976,

the deadliest earthquake in modern history -- a 7.8 -- killed a record 650,000 people

in Tangshan and surrounding areas. In 1969 a quake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale

shook the Bohai Bay itself. And there doesnt seem to be much the engineers can even do

about that threat besides simply reinforcing the strength of the tunnel walls. Of course,

they could simply not bore a long hole under a deep bay through two fault zones, but that

doesnt really seem to be an option at this point.

Because officials throughout China are under enormous pressure to hit GDP economic growth

targets, and there arent many other options that could provide anywhere near as much economic

benefit as the Bohai Tunnel, which should break ground sometime in 2016.

By now youre seeing the trend here: the worlds biggest city, the worlds longest

canal, biggest airport, longest high speed rail network and underwater tunnel. So the

fact that China is building the worlds largest Wind Power Farm too shouldnt surprise

you. The Gansu Wind Farm Project will produce 20 Gigawatts of power by 2020, and will cost

nearly $20 billion to build. Turbines are going up at the staggering rate of 35 per

day across the three areas that make up the power base. In 2012, Gansus capacity surpassed

the total wind-generated-electricity produced by all of the United Kingdom, and its just

the largest of six mega-wind farms currently under construction throughout China.

But China isnt embracing wind just to reduce its carbon emissions, its doing everything

it can to simply keep the lights on. Some parts of the country with booming middle class

populations suffer persistent electricity shortages because, just like us, people want

refrigerators, dishwashers, washer and dryers, and computers in their homes, but theres

only so much energy to go around.

So Chinas State Council is pushing for an across-the-board renewable strategy to

reduce its dependence on oil, coal and gas, the finite resources of the 20th century whose

extraction and consumption are subject to constant geopolitical tensions.

Since 2013, China has led the world in renewable energy production, with a total capacity of

378 installed Gigawatts, coming from projects as wide-ranging as Gansu to hydroelectric

power plants like the Three Gorges Dam, which spans the Yangtze River and is the worlds

largest power station of any kind. In just the last 10 years, China has increased its

solar panel production 100-fold to become the worlds leading manufacturer of the


With China now pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere than the number two and three emitting countries

- the US and India - combined, its vital for the future of the planet that it continues

using MegaProjects to create a lot more Megawatts of clean, green power.

Another answer is nuclear power, which is much less controversial in China because of

its prodigious demand for electricity--and the inability of its people to mount any real

challenges to the governments plans.

Mainland China currently has 31 nuclear power reactors in operation, and another 24 under

construction. Compare this to the United States, which has 99 commercial reactors overall,

supplying about 20% of its electricity needs. However, the US currently has plans to build

just five more reactors--as its instead choosing to embrace natural gas, wind and

solar power.

Even France -- who leads the world by generating 3/4 of its electricity from nuclear -- is

moving away from the technology, and will likely close nearly half its nuclear power

plants in the next decade.

The Fukushima accident in Japan, after the devastating earthquake there, also accelerated

the worlds break up with nuclear power, even causing China to briefly suspend new

projects. But while the rest of the world turns its back on nuclear energy, China is

doing the opposite, more than quadrupling its nuclear capacity by 2030. The marquee

project is the Haiyang Nuclear Power Plant in Shandong province, which will eventually

house eight AP1000 Westinghouse pressurized water reactors for a total capacity of 8,800

MegaWatts--four times more power than is generated by the Hoover Dam, a power station that provides

electricity for 8 million people in the American Southwest. And when you factor in that the

average home in China uses a fraction of what an American home uses, the Haiyang plant will

end up producing enough electricity for tens of millions of people.

But the $13 billion project is only the most powerful of the 13 different nuclear power

plants currently under construction across China--nine of which will have a maximum capacity

of more than 6,000 MW.

Most are near large cities where power is needed most, but this strategy raises concerns

that if there were an accident, tens of millions of residents could be exposed to dangerous


The neighboring Guangdong and Ling Ao nuclear power plants have 28 million people within

a 75-kilometer radius, including Hong Kong. Thats many more than the 8 million who

live within 75-kilometers of the San Onofre nuclear generation station in Southern California,

but the decision was taken in 2013 to shut the California plant down after numerous safety

concerns became known to the public--highlighting the opposite directions the two nations are

heading in when it comes to nuclear power.

The other issue China must deal with is how to dispose the many tons of radioactive waste

it will be generating, which is always a contentious issue because no one wants that in their backyard.

The current plan is for construction to commence in 2041 on a high level waste repository site

in the Gobi Desert.

On the whole, the danger of a costly nuclear accident that China would pay for in both

blood and treasure is fairly significant, but Beijing is apparently willing to live

with that risk, judging by its unrestricted embrace of nuclear power. But these are tough

choices, and its important to keep in mind that in the age of climate change and ecological

interconnectivity, nuclear power is still an infinitely cleaner alternative to burning


The final megaproject featured in our series perfectly highlights both Chinas ongoing

struggle to maintain its unprecedented growth, and the unbelievable ambition thats fueling

its rise.

A constant challenge for most big cities is that theres only so much land to build

on. For Hong Kong and Shenzhen - two neighboring metropolises with a total population of nearly

20 million - the boundary its running into is water. Specifically, the Pearl River Delta,

which separates the uber-populated eastern corridor from the far lesser populated cities

of Macau and Zhuhai on its western shore.

Today, to get to Macau (Ma-Cow) after landing at Hong Kong International airport, you are

faced with either a four hour drive around the mouth of the delta, or a long ferry ride

through frequently rough waters.

But thats about to change, thanks to a $17 billion six-lane, multi-part bridge that

will cut the trip down to a 45 minute drive.

It is an incredibly complex project, and includes cost and construction sharing agreements between

mainland China and its special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

Inspired by both the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in the US and the Øresund Bridge that connects

Denmark and Sweden, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge will not only have to withstand typhoons,

but to avoid cutting off one of the worlds busiest shipping routes into Hong Kong and

its unusually deep natural harbor it will plunge underwater as a tunnel. And at 28km,

its longest stretch will be as if 15 Golden Gate bridges were lined up end-to-end-to-end-to-end.

And thats not even the craziest part. Because Shenzhen doesnt want to be left out, it

too will build a megabridge across the delta just a few miles to the north.

Basically, the region is booming so fast, and competition to tap into the cheaper land

and labor available on the western side is so great, that Shenzhen and Hong Kong have

both committed to building multi-billion dollar megabridges, and will essentially race to

see who finishes theirs first.

As you can see from a close look at the map, cities with populations totaling more than

40 million people surrounding the delta, thus revealing the master plan: to lay the foundation

for Chinas second megalopolis, an urban area that could eventually exceed 100 million


We started this video with Jing-Jin-Ji, and were ending it with what Im calling

Hong-Guang-Zhong. Two megalopolises, each serving as perfect bookends to our story of

China, a country that is counting on infrastructure megaprojects like those were profiled to

serve as the foundation for its rapid urbanization. But how well it manages that urbanization

will largely define whether it continues its ambitious rise for the rest of the 21st century.

For TDC, Im Bryce Plank. This has been another Daily Conversation original multi-part

documentary. If you found the topic of Chinas addiction to megaprojects as fascinating as

I do, hit that like button and share it with your friends and followers, it really helps

me out! If you made it here to the end of this video, thank you so much for watching!

Click on the on-screen annotations to enjoy the other mini-documentaries Ive made like

the future megaprojects in the rest of the world, the most interesting energy sources

of the future, the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or my take on the immigration history

of the United States of America.

The Description of China's Future MEGAPROJECTS (2019-2050's)