Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Bosnia: Hopes of change among disempowered citizens

Read more

REVISITED

In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

¡Gracias, Gabo!

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Socialist rebellion grows

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algerian election: Bouteflika votes in wheelchair

Read more

REPORTERS

Indian election: Votes for sale

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Can Weibo win over US investors?

Read more

DEBATE

Algeria: What's the Choice? Incumbent Bouteflika Votes in Wheelchair (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Algeria: What's the Choice? Incumbent Bouteflika Votes in Wheelchair

Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Police seek arrest warrant for South Korea ferry captain

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • Video: Tensions remain high in Mariupol despite Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

  • Nobel-winning Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

    Read more

  • Deadly avalanche strikes Everest in worst-ever disaster

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Low turnout reported in Algeria as Bouteflika seeks fourth term

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Mob launches deadly attack on UN shelter for S. Sudan civilians

    Read more

  • Eurostar train mishap causes 'severe' delays

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Ukraine talks open in Geneva as Putin talks tough on TV

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

Asia-pacific

China halts new rail projects in wake of deadly crash

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-08-11

Chinese authorities announced late Wednesday that they have halted all new railway construction projects and reduced existing speed limits on newly built high-speed lines in the wake of a July 23 train crash that left 40 dead.

AFP - China has suspended all new railway construction projects, as controversy swirls over the nation's high-speed network nearly three weeks after a fatal crash sparked safety concerns.

Rail authorities have also cut the speed of trains running on newly-built high-speed lines and will conduct safety checks on all existing fast links as well as those under construction.

"We will suspend for the time being the examination and approval of new railway construction projects," the State Council, or cabinet, said in a statement late Wednesday.

The government will also "thoroughly" examine projects that have already been submitted for approval, it added.

Developing the world's largest high-speed rail network has been a key political goal for Beijing, but the death of 40 people in a collision of two high-speed trains on July 23 provoked public outrage and forced it to rethink.

The crash -- China's worst rail accident since 2008 -- triggered a flood of criticism of the railways ministry and sparked accusations that the government had compromised safety in its rush to develop.

Even China's official media weighed in, with the People's Daily newspaper -- the Communist Party mouthpiece -- saying the country did not need "blood-soaked GDP".

"We feel deep guilt and sorrow about the tragic losses of life and property in the accident," railways minister Sheng Guangzu said in the statement, issued after a State Council meeting led by Premier Wen Jiabao.

The crash has forced the Chinese government to make significant changes to its high-speed network.

The railways ministry announced on Thursday that trains designed to run at a maximum speed of 250 kilometres (155 miles) per hour would instead be limited to 200 kph, impacting ticket prices and the timetable for the network.

The Shanghai railway station said in its official Twitter-like Weibo account that ticket sales for high-speed trains leaving from the city after Monday had been temporarily suspended, pending adjustment of the timetable.

In a bid to address public demands for a transparent probe into the crash, the State Council announced it had added more investigators, academics and officials from different government agencies to the team.

Peng Kaiyu, a vice railway minister, and Chen Lanhua, head of the ministry's work safety department, were also removed from the inquiry after members of the public demanded they not be included, according to a separate statement.

The controversy has also hit bullet train manufacturer China CNR Corp, which was told to stop shipments after a series of delays on a new, flagship high-speed rail link between Beijing and Shanghai.

China's railway ministry ordered the halt after problems with high-speed trains manufactured by a unit of the listed company.

China has the world's biggest high-speed rail network. It reached 8,358 kilometres at the end of 2010, and authorities had planned for it to exceed 13,000 kilometres by 2012 and 16,000 kilometres by 2020.

In December 2010, the railways ministry announced that a Chinese high-speed train had reached a speed of 486 kilometres per hour, smashing the world record for an unmodified train.

But earlier this year, cracks started to emerge.

Authorities decided to limit speeds on the high-speed network to 300 kph, following allegations of widespread, high-level corruption in the rail sector.

Then railways minister Liu Zhijun was sacked in February over graft charges, after he allegedly took more than 800 million yuan ($125 million) in kickbacks over several years on contracts linked to the high-speed network.

China's state auditor in March said construction companies and individuals last year siphoned off 187 million yuan in funds meant for the Beijing-Shanghai link.
 

Date created : 2011-08-11

  • CHINA

    Government blames signaling flaws in bid to fend off criticism

    Read more

  • CHINA

    High-speed train crash leaves dozens dead

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)