China Bullet Train Project Slows

By:  Bruce Walker
08/19/2011
       
China Bullet Train Project Slows

The Chinese Communist Party has exerted every effort to manage all high-tech activities within its borders. While the government has allowed the market forces more freedom, it has attempted to retain iron control over projects such as manned space travel and high-speed trains. Unfortunately for technology, the decision-making in these sorts of projects in China, critics maintain, is driven by politics, not science. Analysts note that invariably, government-controlled technology projects are inherently weak. In July, after a Chinese high-speed train crashed into a stalled train, killing 40 people, Xianfang Ren, chief economist for IHS Global Insight, noted: “If they are taking one step back to think again about these railway projects, more broadly it should have an impact on their overall planning of such projects ... It is not quite clear that stepping on the brake is the only viable option."

The decision-making in these sorts of projects in China, critics maintain, is driven by politics, not science. Liu Zhijun, Railway Minister until February, was fired amid charges of graft. Chinese state broadcasting has even showed residents in the eastern province of Anhui complaining about the noise and property damage that a bullet train line caused them, seeming to indicate that Communist Party support was backing off.

The Chinese Communist Party has exerted every effort to manage all high-tech activities within its borders. While the government has allowed the market forces more freedom, it has attempted to retain iron control over projects such as manned space travel and high-speed trains. Unfortunately for technology, the decision-making in these sorts of projects in China, critics maintain, is driven by politics, not science. Analysts note that invariably, government-controlled technology projects are inherently weak. In July, after a Chinese high-speed train crashed into a stalled train, killing 40 people, Xianfang Ren, chief economist for IHS Global Insight, noted: “If they are taking one step back to think again about these railway projects, more broadly it should have an impact on their overall planning of such projects ... It is not quite clear that stepping on the brake is the only viable option."

The decision-making in these sorts of projects in China, critics maintain, is driven by politics, not science. Liu Zhijun, Railway Minister until February, was fired amid charges of graft. Chinese state broadcasting has even showed residents in the eastern province of Anhui complaining about the noise and property damage that a bullet train line caused them, seeming to indicate that Communist Party support was backing off.

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