8/14/11, "Chinese contractors want to bid for work on a planned California high-speed line, though it might be harder to woo buyers who see China's government has lost faith in its own system....Global Insight's Ren said she sees no sign the government might scale back its export plans." (item at end of article)
12/28/11, "China bullet train crash 'caused by design flaws'," BBC
"A bullet train crash which killed 40 people in China in July was caused by design flaws and sloppy management, the Chinese government says.
Almost 200 people were injured in the crash near the south-eastern city of Wenzhou.
"Missteps" by 54 officials led to the disaster, the long-awaited official report says.
The crash led many Chinese to accuse the government of putting development and profit before safety.
It also triggered a wave of popular anger against officials who were accused of trying to cover up the seriousness, and causes, of the crash.
After receiving the report, China's cabinet criticised the railways ministry for lax safety standards and poor handling of the crash, according to Reuters.
Premier Wen Jiabao was presented with the official investigation's conclusions at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The accident occurred after one train stalled following a lightning strike, and then a second high-speed train ran into it. Four carriages were thrown off a viaduct.
The report found that serious design flaws in control equipment and improper handling of the lightning strike led to the crash.
More serious penalties could follow for some of the 54 officials criticised in the report.
Among the officials singled out was the former railways minister, Liu Zhijun, who was sacked before the crash, accused of corruption.
Liu "has the main leadership responsibility for the accident," the report says.
Following the accident, the authorities called a temporary halt to new high-speed rail projects and placed speed restrictions on trains.
China had planned to lay 16,000km (10,000 miles) of high-speed track by 2015, which would make it the biggest high-speed rail network in the world.
It had hoped to make its rapidly developing railway technology an export success: Chinese train companies were aspiring to compete with Germany's Siemens and Canada's Bombardier by selling their technologies to foreign companies.
But after July's crash that looks less likely.
The railways ministry said on Friday that it planned to invest 400 billion yuan ($63bn; £40bn) in infrastructure construction in 2012, which is lower than the figure for this year."***
***Ed. note: The BBC doesn't state the important fact that funding is 42% lower:
12/24/11, "China to Slash Railway Spending," Wall St. Journal, Areddy
SHANGHAI—"Chinese authorities are cutting spending on railway construction for 2012, the latest signal the world's No. 2 economy is de-emphasizing one of its most expensive programs after a year of problems highlighted by a deadly high-speed collision.
Under the new plan, spending for 2012 construction will drop 42%, from more than 700 billion yuan ($110 billion) earmarked in 2010—an investment level that initially had been expected to be maintained for a number of years, until the death of 40 people in the July crash prompted a reassessment."...
The "root problem" of Communist China is now the "root problem" of the US: reliance on "direct government involvement" to advance science and technology:
8/14/11, "China's enthusiasm for high-speed rail stalls," AP, Joe McDonald, via USA Today
"The train disaster has been a high-profile illustration of the weaknesses of government-led development, though no one expects the ruling Communist Party to change what many see as the root problem — its pervasive role in the economy, technology and industry.
In economics, the ruling party has traded most elements of central planning for market-style reforms. But in science, it still sees direct government involvement as essential to achieving its goal of transforming China from a nation of farmers and factory workers into a prosperous creator of technology....
"The government plays a leading role in all these public projects, which should not really be the case," said Zhao Jian, a railway expert at Beijing Jiaotong University and one of the most
- prominent critics of high-speed rail plans.
Even before the July crash, the bullet train was a target of critics who said it was dangerously fast and too expensive for a society where
- the poor majority need more low-cost transportation,