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Wuhan - Conditions

Located in central China, the city is a major industrial complex and inland port at the confluence of the Han and Yangtze rivers that is accessible to oceangoing vessels. Wuhan is situated in the middle of Hubei Province in China, east of Jianghan Plain, and at the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and Hanshui River. The Yangtze River and Hanshui River divide Wuhan into three parts: Hankou, Hanyang and Wuchang, which were generally known as Wuhan's Three Towns. Wuhan occupies 8,467 square km, most of which is flat with some hills and abundant lakes and pools. Wuhan has a subtropical monsoon climate with abundant rainfall and four distinct seasons. Wuhan is naturally very charming. There are more than 100 lakes and hills.

Because of its hot summer weather, Wuhan is known as one of the "Three Furnaces" of China, along with Nanjing and Chongqing. Wuhan is by far the hottest of the three; the average temperature in July is 37.2 degrees Celsius, and the maximum often exceeds 40 degrees Celsius. The coldest months are January and February with temperatures as low as 5 degrees Celsius. Annual precipitation averages 1,200 millimeters (mainly from February to May). The four seasons in Wuhan are clearly marked with extreme temperatures dominating both summer and winter here. During the hottest months, heat spells can last for weeks on end with little difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures. Although rainfall is fairly high at this time, it provides little respite from the city heat. The best time to visit Wuhan is autumn when temperatures are much more manageable and there is less rainfall than at other times of the year.

Hankou was built on an alluvial plain on the left banks of both the Han and Chang rivers. It is the largest of the three towns and contains Wuhan's port that handles oceangoing vessels. Hankou owes much of its development to the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway, which crosses the Chang at Hankou. The city was opened as a treaty port in 1862, held by the Japanese from 1938 to 1945, and in 1949 passed to the Chinese Communists.

Hanyang, situated on the right bank of the Han River at its junction with the Chang, is the city's industrial center. The city was founded during the Sui dynasty (581-618 AD). It is linked by bridge with Hankou.

Wuchang, situated on the right bank of the Chang River at the mouth of the Han, is an administrative and cultural center with diverse industries. The oldest of the three Wuhan cities, it dates from the Han dynasty (200 BC-200 AD). The first outbreak of the Revolution of 1911, which led to the formation of the Chinese republic, occurred here on October 10. The day is celebrated as the Double Tenth, the tenth day of the tenth month. The city's numerous institutions of higher learning include Wuhan University.

Wuhan has two Western-style medical facilities with international staff. Theses clinics have reasonably up-to-date medical technology and skilled physicians who speak some English. Wuhan has ten Emergency Centers spread throughout the city. According to a 2018 city report, the average ambulance response time was 12 minutes. Since traffic congestion is often severe and yielding to emergency vehicles is not normal, injured or moderately ill patients may elect to take taxis or other immediately available vehicles to the nearest emergency center rather than waiting for ambulances to arrive. Although not as well equipped or trained as their Western counterparts, ambulance services are competent. Consulate medical staff recommend waiting for the ambulance for serious illnesses or life-threatening injuries. In rural areas, only rudimentary medical facilities are generally available. Medical personnel in rural areas have often received poor training and have limited access to medical equipment or medications.

"Three Gorges Dam Project" is the short term for the water control project at the three gorges on Yangtze River. One cannot talk about Three Gorges Dam without mentioning the Yangtze Gorges. The Yangtze Gorges lay in the upper reaches of Yangtze River and form a common boundary for Hubei province, Sichuan province and Chongqing city. It arches across Fengjie county and Wushan Mountain of Chongqing city, five counties of Hubei province and Yichang city. It begins in the west from Baidi city in Fengjie county and ends at Nanjin pass in Yichang city, Hubei province, a distance of 192 kilometers. Yangtze River plunges through Wushan Mountain, Huangling Temple and Bamianshan mountainous region which result from Yanshan Movement. Therefore, such three huge gorges as Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge and Daning River Dale and Xian gxi Dale came into being. "Three Gorges" are deemed as their general name. The Three Gorges is an area of huge cliffs and high mountains with the Yangtze winding its way though on it progress toward the sea many kilometers away. The gorges are usually 250 meters to 350 meters wide with the narrowest point being about 100 meters wide.

Road conditions in Wuhan and the surrounding cities are generally good; in contrast, driving conditions in rural areas are usually poor. Avoid driving outside the city after dark due to poor lighting and road hazards, including stopped vehicles and other obstructions. The greatest road hazard remains the Chinese driver. Drivers are often either overly cautious or aggressive, resulting in numerous accidents every day. Drivers rarely adhere to traffic laws, and policing occurs remotely by video camera (mainly through speed traps). Yielding to oncoming traffic/pedestrians and signaling ones intentions in advance are virtually unheard of. Traffic signals are absent at key locations, stop signs are often non-existent, and road closures are poorly marked, if at all. Incidents of individuals driving while impaired are also relatively common. In traffic accidents involving expatriates, the expatriate is often at fault, regardless of the actual cause.

Public transportation in Wuhan is modern and extensive. Buses, subways, and taxis are of relatively new design. However, they are often crowded. Wuhan has three train stations with numerous destinations throughout China. The G-series high-speed trains are safe and rarely delayed. There are numerous domestic and international flights out of Wuhans International Airport (WUH). As with much of mainland China, flight delays are common, especially in the afternoon and evening.

There is minimal risk from civil unrest in Wuhan. Police are generally quick to react to violent outbreaks, sometimes using force to subdue disturbances. The government remains focused on maintaining social stability and preventing civil unrest over economic and social grievances. Authorities monitor all means of communication (e.g. telephones, mobile phones, faxes, e-mails, text messages). The Chinese government has access to the infrastructure operated by the limited number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and wireless providers operating in the country. Wireless access to the Internet in major metropolitan areas is becoming more and more common. As such, the Chinese can access official and personal computers more easily. The Chinese government has publicly declared that it regularly monitors private e-mail and Internet browsing through cooperation with local ISPs. Some bloggers are subject to particular scrutiny; authorities often carefully monitor such activity and, depending upon the subject matter, block it.

There is no reasonable expectation of privacy in public or private locations. There are frequent reports of human and technical monitoring of US private businesspersons and visiting US citizens. The areas around US and other foreign diplomatic facilities and residences are under overt physical and video surveillance: dozens of security personnel are outside of facilities and around residences; video cameras are visible throughout diplomatic quarters (offices and residential neighborhoods). Overt microphones and video cameras are common in taxis. All hotel rooms and offices are subject to on-site or remote technical monitoring. Authorities access hotel rooms, residences, and offices without the occupants consent/knowledge. Elevators and public areas of housing compounds are under continuous surveillance.

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Page last modified: 02-02-2020 19:02:46 ZULU