China High Speed Rail

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Today’s Wall Street Journal has an impressive report about the collision of two high speed rail trains in eastern China on July 23rd. It turns out that the system is struggling under corrupt leadership and mechanical and engineering problems as a result. What is fascinating is that the government can’t cover up the crisis. With a Twitter-like service called Sina Weibo, victims were reporting the news of the accident to the nation from the scene. The accident news is viral in China and there’s little the government can do. Some of the “facts” communicated may or may not be true. There is an accusation that the wrecked train cars were destroyed and hauled away to inhibit any meaningful investigation. Whether true or not, rumor easily fills a vacuum created by government cover up. A poster has surfaced with the statement, “Heaven is only a train ticket away,” the Journal reports.

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2 Responses to “China High Speed Rail”

  1. Nick Kellingley Says:

    I think this has been embarassing to the government because they did take action to try and prevent corruption on the railways projects – the head of the rail projects was sacked for corruption as were his deputies. So it’s not much fun to admit you still got robbed by people who value their pockets more than lives.

  2. Gary Says:

    There’s also an editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal that supports your view. It says, in part: “Beijing is blaming “foreign technology” for the equipment failure. The deeper issue is Chinese institutions’ inability to develop and administer complex systems. Like a multinational corporation with a long supply chain, a high-speed rail network depends on individuals at multiple levels of command taking responsibility for effective local operations. China’s predilection for top-down organization makes it difficult for information to flow horizontally and for subordinates to take the initiative to make improvements.”

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