China Presses On With High-Speed Rail

It appears that it is full steam ahead for China’s high-speed rail network despite the bribery and corruption investigation around sacked railways minister Liu Zhijun. His replacement Sheng Guangzu says development will continue to plan. Shen also said that the ministry’s affiliated railway companies were holding 1.8 trillion yuan ($275 billion) in debt, which amounts to 56% of their assets–within “the safety zone”, according to Sheng. That said, the bank regulator, China Banking Regulatory Commission, has told banks to review their lending to high-speed rail projects.

Footnote: Our man in New York reminds us that America’s railway building boom in the 19th century, and particularly the transcontinental Union Pacific Railroad, was afflicted by bribery and corruption. The most notorious incident was the Credit Mobilier of America scandal in the 1860-70s in which 13 members of the U.S. Congress were implicated.

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