The deadly crash involving two bullet trains in China’s Wenzhou province in late July was due to design flaws and was “completely avoidable” according to the director of the State Administration for of Work Safety, Luo Lin. The Chinese government had previously attributed the accident, that killed 40 and injured dozens of others, to a signal failure. Luo did not specify if the flaws were in the trains or the wider rail system; he also noted that the accident had revealed “problems in emergency response and safety management after the failure occurred,” says the BBC.
On Friday, the state-owned manufacturer of bullet trains in China, North Locomotive and Rolling Stock Ltd, had said that it is recalling 54 bullet trains. The recall is not directly linked to the crash, which involved trains made by a rival company, says the Guardian. But the recalled trains are from the much-celebrated Beijing-Shanghai line, which was launched on 1 July to mark the 90th anniversary of the Communist party.
China has been on a drive to have the world’s largest high-speed train network. It has achieved that, but at such an accelerated pace — it took China seven years to build bullet trains that achieve speeds of 350 kilometers an hour; it took Japan almost 50 years to build trains that achieve speeds of 300 kilometers an hour — that suggests it has little concern for safety protocols and for the protection of consumers. The revelation of a corruption scandal had already cast a shadow over the project and many people have started to accuse Chinese authorities of putting profits and politics ahead of the safety of civilians.
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