China’s railways ministry has acknowledged flaws in the construction of its high-speed rail links, state media reported today, in another blow to its credibility after a deadly train crash.
The July 23 collision of two high-speed trains in eastern China, which killed at least 40 people and left nearly 200 injured, sparked public fury amid allegations authorities had prioritized development over safety.
According to the state-run People’s Railway Daily newspaper, the ministry acknowledged earlier this week that “flaws exist in the management of construction of high-speed railways”.
The comments come at a time of crisis for China’s high-speed rail network, which had been a major source of political pride for the government until the accident happened near the city of Wenzhou.
Last week, state media said investigations into the crash had determined it was “completely avoidable”, adding that design defects had likely caused equipment failures and emergency plans were also deficient.
On Friday, a state-owned manufacturing company announced it was recalling 54 bullet trains on the newly opened high-speed link between Beijing and Shanghai for safety checks.
Also last week, the government said it was suspending approval of all new railway construction projects and ordered the maximum speed of trains on the newly-built lines to be lowered by as much as 20 percent.
China’s government has said it will reduce its train fares by five percent, in a move believed to be aimed at attracting commuters back to the country’s beleaguered rail system.