Plans to build new subway lines in 20 cities have been put on hold by the State Development and Planning Commission. China's large budget deficit and the high cost of constructing, maintaining and subsidising a subway line persuaded the State Council to order a three-month review of construction plans last October. Many cities, including Shenyang, Hangzhou and Qingdao, have proposed the construction of new subways or extensions to existing ones.
Soon after the freeze was announced, officials in Guangzhou said they had broken ground on a fourth line in the city. Guangzhou Metro Corp general manager Lu Guanglin told Guangzhou Daily that he had received no instructions from the central government to put subway construction on hold. The new line will run 11km from Science City to Nansha Island in the south, and is scheduled for completion by 2006.
In addition, Guangzhou Communist Party secretary and mayor Lin Shusen said the city was planning to build three more lines. "I believe construction will begin in the not too distant future," he said.
Guo Yanhua, head of the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences' urban and modernisation studies centre, defended the move by saying that Guangzhou had the financial means to build and operate subways, unlike some other Chinese cities.