Forget airplanes—trains are the future! Think about it, would you rather sit in some whirlybird deathtrap, or ride in luxury to your destination, gliding along the countryside in only double the amount of time it would take you to get there by plane?
Well, dreams do come true, and China is the little engine that could. Just a few short years ago, China’s high-speed rail seemed poised to take over the world! Everyone was talking about it. Everyone wanted a piece of it. U.S. officials, like former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, would visit China and practically drool over all of that sleek, shiny efficiency of the Chinese system. Daley said he was “envious” of “all of the progress” China has made, and praised its “willingness to do it.”
Yes, we all admire that can-do attitude you can get only in a totalitarian state that doesn’t have to deal with objections from, you know, the people who currently live on the land that you want to plow a 220 mile-per-hour train through. There was even a highly publicized photo shoot with former Terminator and governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. Can’t be a running man forever.
Well, all that ended, sadly, after the 2011 high-speed rail crash in Wenzhou, coupled with a hasty attempt to literally bury the evidence by burying the train. Apparently people were upset by that. That’s why the Party doesn’t like to listen to them in the first place.
But it also shone a spotlight on the vast network of high-speed corruption operated by China’s Railways Ministry. The Railways Ministry ran the railways and was responsible for regulating them, meaning it regulated itself. And we all know how well that works.
It even had its own police force and was a huge base of power for those involved, like former Railways Minister Liu Zhijun. That is, until he was arrested in 2011 following the train crash and was given a suspended death sentence in 2013 for taking $10 million in bribes. The Railways Ministry, burdened by $428 billion of debt, was itself dissolved and separated into a transport ministry and a state-owned railways corporation.
So that took a little bit of steam out of the whole “China’s high-speed rail as a shining example of the future” thing.
But all that is behind us now. High-speed rail is back! That’s because China is “considering” building a high-speed rail line to the United States!
Mind. Blown. And I know it’s true because I read it in the People’s Daily. This rail line would start in northeast China, run through Siberia, cross a 125-mile underwater tunnel under the Bering Strait, then travel through Alaska and Canada before reaching the continental U.S. It will take only two days to travel from Beijing to the United States, instead of the typical 12 hours by plane.
Now this is what I’m talking about. This is the kind of wacky ambition and complete disregard for the reality of the natural environment that brought us the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydropower project that displaced 1.3 million people and is also causing landslides, drought, oh, and earthquakes. Not to mention the South-North Water Transfer Project, where the government is planning to drill almost 2,000 miles of tunnels and canals through places like the Himalayas, to move water from the Yangtze River and its tributaries in the south, up to the north, based on a single statement made by expert hydrogeologist Chairman Mao.
The good news is the high-speed rail line from China to the United States is only one of four high-speed rail projects currently in the works. China also wants to build a train that runs from London to China, through Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Kyiv, Moscow, Kazakhstan, and then China.
Then there’s the Kunming to Singapore line. Not knowing what the route for this one is, I would imagine it goes through Laos, Thailand, and Burma, places that all have such great relations with China.
And finally a Germany to Urumqi line, going through Urumqi, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, and Germany. I’ve always wanted to go from Germany to Urumqi.
But it seems like some in China are feeling a little defensive about these ambitious rail projects, after hundreds of English-language media outlets picked up the story. So China Daily published this opinion piece, translated from another Chinese state-run media. It acknowledges, “The difficulties in capital, technology, geology, engineering, climate, and geopolitics are conceivable.”
But, it said, we’re missing the bigger picture here. You see, Western forces built the current world order with warships, to benefit themselves, which just isn’t fair. So now developing countries will build a new world order, with trains! Because many countries will have to cooperate to make these high-speed rail lines a reality. And since cooperation between China, Russia, and the United States has worked out so well when it comes to, say, the Ukraine, Syria, currency, trade, human rights, anything at the United Nations, and possibly a few other things—I see no problems with this plan. And cooperation will make things fair. Or something.
That’s right. World peace, through China’s high-speed rail.
For more China Uncensored, please visit youtube.com/ntdchinauncensored.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Epoch Times.