Slow planes in China
If you’ve spent much time flying out of Chinese airports, it’s likely that you’ve experienced multiple delays and cancellations. It’s apparently getting worse: Caixin reports that China “has experienced 7,000 more flight delays per day than it did last year,” with the country’s on-time flight rate reaching “a three-year low this year of 71.8%, nearly 6 percentage points lower than the same period for 2016, according to the Civil Aviation Administration.”
Why so many delays?
- The weather “has caused half of the total delays so far this year,” with torrential rains in southern China grounding “thousands” of flights.
- Military exercises: Caixin says that “increased military activity has contributed to over a fourth of the delays and cancellations.”
- Drones: “nearly 800 flights were affected by drones illicitly flying near airports.”
- Weird stuff, or what Caixin politely calls “miscellaneous activities by passengers,” such as a family embarking without boarding passes for their child, or the well-meaning lady who threw coins into the jet engine for good luck.
VPN update: It’s serious
Evidence continues to accumulate that the authorities are serious this time about scrutinizing and controlling the virtual private networks (VPNs) used to get around Chinese internet censorship.
- The still excellent China Law Translate has posted a translation of what seems to be a letter from a Chinese internet service provider, informing clients that “they will need to assist in cleaning up/blocking VPN access following an order from the Ministry of Public Security.”
- The Associated Press has a story on the VPN clampdown, which summarizes the situation so far.
- It’s still unclear if there will be any effect, aside from the usual periodic interference, on VPN providers based abroad that do not accept domestic Chinese forms of payment.