Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China
More convenient public transport. After 1949, the newly founded PRC took quick action to repair the transport routes damaged in war, and restored transport by water, land and air. From 1953 to 1977, a total investment of RMB84 billion was made in the construction of transport businesses owned by the people. Key projects such as the Qinghai-Tibet Highway, Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge, Capital International Airport, and Beijing-Shanghai Railway were completed, significantly improving the country's transport links. Since the 1990s China has accelerated construction of transport infrastructure and made it a key strategic goal, and continued to increase investment to build a comprehensive transport system. With an improved transport network, the country's transport capacity and efficiency have seen marked growth, enabling better services to travellers.
By the end of 2018, China's rail network had grown to 131,000 km, up by 500 percent from 1949, and the high-speed rail network had reached 29,000 km, accounting for more than 60 percent of the world's total. In 2018, the number of passengers travelling by rail reached 3.38 billion, 2.01 billion of whom travelled by CRH (China Railways Highspeed) trains. China has achieved leapfrog development in its road network, which, by 2018, had reached 4.85 million km in length, including 143,000 km of expressways. In 2018 13.67 billion individual trips were made by road in China, and 97.1 percent of administrative villages had bus services. Every county in China now has road access, and 99.9 percent of villages are connected to the road network. Total inland waterway mileage had reached 127,000 km. The mileage of regular flights had reached 8.38 million km, a 736-fold increase over 1950.
Better health for the people. Before 1949 China suffered from a very low level of medical and health services, and doctors and medicine were rare resources in the countryside and remote areas. Over the past 70 years, the Chinese government has established a sound medical and health care system, continued to increase financial input for advancing public health and medical technology, and launched the Health China initiative, increasing public access to health services throughout the life cycle. Life expectancy in China rose from 35 in the early 1950s to 77 in 2018, meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule, and the people generally enjoy better health than people in high-income countries.