Since the last update Ashle, I and both Chads took a plane to Urumqi, met up with Ablajan (who was the guide of Chris and I last year) and went with him to Turpan and back, then Ashle and I left the Chads in Xinjiang while we took a 24 hour bus ride to Kazakhastan, spent a week in Almaty, and flew back first to Urumqi and then to Beijing. Now all three of the them have left Japan, Ashle and one Chad back to Japan (although Ashle is leaving there for the US shortly) and the other Chad back to Canada while I finish my time here in China. Before they left we went on a trip to the Great Wall, and after they left I finally went to the Forbidden City by myself yesterday. I’m taking a sleeper train to Shanghai tonight and then on the 30th boarding the Osaka bound ferry.
I have a lot of journals, information and photos to post, but that’ll all wait until I get back to Japan when I’ll start doing so gradually. It’s been a good trip, but I’m tired and feeling about ready to go home.
While walking around Beijing today I picked up an issue of a smallish English language paper called “Beijing Today（今日北京)”. There were several interesting articles, but considering my upcoming intinerary this one particularly caught my eye:
China and Kazakhstan Extablish Free Trade Zone
Yu Shanshan 03/05/2004
The Ministry of Commerce confirmed Sunday that China’s first free trade zone will be established along the border with Kazakhstan.
The China-Kazakhstan free border-trade zone will lie between Yili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture, in Xinjiang, and Alma-ata, Kazakhstan.
Jia Yisheng, secretary of the CPC committee in Horgos, Xinjiang, told China News Agency last Tuesday that the two sides have agreed to build a Sino-Kazakhstan world trade center in the 200 hectares between Horgos and Kazakhstan. China has offered 130 hectares while Kazakhstan has contributed 70 hectares for the free trade zone.
According to Jia, the Chinese side is mapping out a plan for the free trade zone, and the scheme of Sino-Kazakhstan free trade zone put forward by China has received a positive response from Kazakhstan. Under the plan, the zone would allow for zero tariffs and the free flow of people and goods.
You can read the full text of the article here on their web site.