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China Mobile Adds 10 Yuan to Stranded Passengers' Accounts

Train services have been interrupted by snow, but China is making sure that telecommunications services aren't.

State-owned China Mobile has added 10 yuan (about US$1.4) to the account of every mobile phone user stranded in southern Guangzhou since Tuesday to help them contact their families. This amount will buy about 10 minutes of long-distance conversation or 100 text messages.

So far, 344,633 people stuck in various places such as Guangzhou Railway Station, Guangzhou East Railway Station, the exit to the Beijing-Zhuhai expressway, and Guangdong Bus Station, have benefited.

"The service will continue as long as people are stranded," a staff member said.

The worst snows in 50 years have stranded almost 800,000 passengers in Guangzhou, who were on their way home to celebrate the Spring Festival that falls on Feb. 7.

Many trains have been delayed and traffic on the Beijing-Guangzhou line is unlikely to return to normal within the next two to three days as snow persists in central China.

The local government has sent 357 million text messages about weather and transportation to the public and provided water, food, medicine and quilts to passengers stuck in railway stations and on highways.

Due to the closure of the expressway linking Beijing with Zhuhai in Guangdong, about 1,300 vehicles and 3,500 people were stranded along a nearby highway in Guangdong's Ruyuan County.

(Xinhua News Agency February 1, 2008)

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