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Train crash could spell change for China railways


Published on Aug 5, 2011

Commentators say the deadly crash could lead to upheaval at the Ministry of Railways...

The deadly high-speed train crash could spell the end of China’s Ministry of Railways. The death of 40 passengers on 23 July has cast a dark cloud over high-speed rail development in China, prompting sackings and stern criticism from within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Party leader Wen Jiabao has promised a safer service and more accountability which is threatening the Ministry of Railways dual role as train operator and industry regulator. Commentators have said that such a split would increase the effi ciency of a system long plagued by corruption. Hu Xingdou, an economics professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology, told Bloomberg; “The concentration of power has caused ineffi ciency and mismanagement, and it’s a hotbed for corruption.” Doing so would reshape the monolithic railway ministry into a body like that of the state-run agencies. For example, aviation is emblematic of modern China, with state backed business running operations and independent bodies in place to regulate them. It is hope by many that the crash will act as a catalyst for change.

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