Conversation

02.15.19

China is Upping Its Aid and Development Game. How Should the U.S. Respond?

Deborah Bräutigam, Mark Akpaninyie & more
During his September 2018 U.N. address, President Donald Trump threatened that the United States may decide to only give foreign aid to “those who respect us and, frankly, are our friends.” In August, the White House attempted to cut foreign aid...

Conversation

12.19.18

China’s Growing Footprint in Latin America

Benjamin Creutzfeldt, Rebecca Ray & more
Many Latin American countries experienced political change in 2018, with presidential elections in three of the largest countries—Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia—and transitions in Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, and Paraguay. Meanwhile, several...

Features

11.28.18

Beijing’s Long Struggle to Control Xinjiang’s Mineral Wealth

Judd C. Kinzley
The Silk Road Economic Belt—the overland component of Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)—promises to bind China to Central Asia and beyond through a new infrastructural network. Connecting through China’s far western Xinjiang...

Railroaded: The Chinese High-Speed Train Network No One Else Really Wants

Trefor Moss
Wall Street Journal
Terrain is easy, negotiations hard, as construction begins on politically fraught route through Southeast Asia.

Railroaded: The Chinese High-Speed Train Network No One Else Really Wants

Trefor Moss
Wall Street Journal
Li Guanghe has built some of the most technically complex railroads in China.

Books

05.03.18

High-Speed Empire

Will Doig
Columbia Global Reports: The story of the world’s most audacious infrastructure project.Less than a decade ago, China did not have a single high-speed train in service. Today, it owns a network of 14,000 miles of high-speed rail, far more than the rest of the world combined. Now, China is pushing its tracks into Southeast Asia, reviving a century-old colonial fantasy of an imperial railroad stretching to Singapore, and kicking off a key piece of the One Belt One Road initiative, which has a price tag of U.S.$1 trillion and reaches inside the borders of more than 60 countries.The Pan-Asia Railway portion of One Belt One Road could transform Southeast Asia, bringing shiny Chinese cities, entire economies, and waves of migrants where none existed before. But if it doesn’t succeed, that would be a cautionary tale about whether a new superpower, with levels of global authority unimaginable just a decade ago, can pull entire regions into its orbit simply with tracks, sweat, and lots of money. Journalist Will Doig traveled to Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore to chronicle the dramatic transformations taking place—and to find out whether ordinary people have a voice in this moment of economic, political, and cultural collision.{chop}

Why Chinese State Media Love Elon Musk’s Latest Tweets

Jethro Mullen
CNN
The Tesla CEO tweeted out a link to a video about a Chinese rail station that was built in less than 9 hours.

China Says Part of Hong Kong Rail Station to Be Subject to Mainland Laws

Christian Shepherd, Venus Wu
Reuters
China’s parliament on Wednesday said part of a high-speed railway station being built in Hong Kong would be regarded as mainland territory governed by mainland laws, an unprecedented move that critics say further erodes the city’s autonomy.

New Silk Road: Japan to Counteract China in Kazakhstan with New Asia-Europe Rail Deal

Wade Shepard
Forbes
Japan continues standing in the ring with China, exchanging blow for blow as the Asian rivals both compete and cooperate with each other in the creation of the trans-Eurasian mega-project that has been...

Anger at Plan to Let Chinese Police Patrol in Hong Kong

Benjamin Haas
Guardian
A Hong Kong government plan to lease part of a new high-speed rail station to China and allow Chinese police to enforce mainland laws has sparked new fears the city is losing its autonomy.

For China's Global Ambitions, ‘Iran Is at the Center of Everything’

Thomas Erdbrink
New York Times
When Zuao Ru Lin, a Beijing entrepreneur, first heard about business opportunities in eastern Iran, he was skeptical. But then he bought a map and began to envision the region without any borders, as one enormous market.

Chinese Debt in Africa: How Much Is Too Much?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China now owns more than half of Kenya’s external debt, and that figure is likely to grow even higher as President Uhuru Kenyatta turns to Beijing to finance large infrastructure projects across the country. Most recently, China completed the first...

Kenya President Urges Rebalance of China-Africa Trade

David Piling
Financial Times
President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya has called on China to rebalance an increasingly skewed trade relationship between Africa and the rising superpower, arguing that Beijing must do more to tackle a widening trade deficit.

Caixin Media

05.05.17

Belt and Road: A Symphony in Need of a Strong Conductor

In just a few weeks, the Chinese president will host the Belt and Road summit—Xi Jinping’s landmark program to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects across Asia, Africa, and Europe. Reactions to the project have been, understandably...

Joyous Africans Take to the Rails, With China’s Help

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
China, which designed the system, supplied the trains and imported hundreds of engineers for the six years it took to plan and build the 466-mile line. And the $4 billion cost? Chinese banks provided nearly all the financing.

First Freight Train from China to Britain Arrives in London

Ritvik Carvalho
Reuters
The first China-to-Britain freight train arrived in London on Wednesday after a 7,500-mile journey, marking a milestone in China’s push to build commercial links across Europe and Asia.

First China-U.K. Freight Train Departs as Xi Seeks to Lift Trade

Bloomberg
China initiated a rail-freight service to Britain as part of President Xi Jinping’s efforts to strengthen trade ties with Europe.

Books

12.20.16

The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom

John Pomfret
From the clipper ships that ventured to Canton hauling cargos of American ginseng to swap for Chinese tea, to the U.S. warships facing off against China’s growing navy in the South China Sea, from the Yankee missionaries who brought Christianity and education to China, to the Chinese who built the American West, the United States and China have always been dramatically intertwined. For more than two centuries, American and Chinese statesmen, merchants, missionaries, and adventurers, men and women, have profoundly influenced the fate of these nations. While we tend to think of America’s ties with China as starting in 1972 with the visit of President Richard Nixon to China, the patterns—rapturous enchantment followed by angry disillusionment—were set in motion hundreds of years earlier.Drawing on personal letters, diaries, memoirs, government documents, and contemporary news reports, John Pomfret reconstructs the surprising, tragic, and marvelous ways Americans and Chinese have engaged with one another through the centuries. A fascinating and thrilling account, The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom is also an indispensable book for understanding the most important—and often the most perplexing—relationship between any two countries in the world. —Henry Holt{chop}

Is China Building a Road to Ruin?

Andrew Browne
Wall Street Journal
China beats the U.S. on infrastructure but at a heavy cost

Environment

09.15.16

A Chinese Train Could Link South America’s Atlantic and Pacific Coasts by Rail for the First Time

from chinadialogue
Official bodies from Brazil and Peru have expressed concern about the social and environmental impacts of the proposed interoceanic railway, which will connect the coast of Peru and Brazil, cutting through 621 miles of pristine rainforest.In a...

China Lays New Brick in Silk Road With First Afghan Rail Freight

Eltaf Najafizada
Bloomberg
China has for years had grand investment plans for Afghanistan’s resource riches.

What the Newly Branded China-Europe ‘Silk Road’ Trains Really Mean

Wade Shepard
Forbes
Trans-continental railway with fresh, uniform logos are set to launch on an auspicious date....

Caixin Media

01.19.16

Why China Doesn’t Publish Fatal Train Crash Data

Disputes between the two agencies running the trains in China over how to classify and publish details on fatal railroad incidents has kept reports on some fatal accidents last year from surfacing, people close to the matter say. Several employees...

China Wants to Build a High-Speed Rail Link to a Newly Open Iran

Richard Macauley
Quartz
China Railway has proposed a high-speed rail link that will carry both passengers and cargo between China and Iran.

China to Build $5 Billion High-Speed Rail Line in Indonesia

Rieka Rahadiana
Bloomberg
China Railway International Co. Ltd and a consortium of Indonesian state companies will build the rail line from Jakarta to Bandung.

Chinese Team Expresses Interest in California High-Speed Rail Program

Xinhua
The Chinese High Speed Rail Delivery Team is among 35 U.S. and foreign entities that expressed their interest in participating in the California High-Speed Rail(CHSR) program.

China: Protests For High-Speed Rail Line To ‘Abandoned' City’ Triggers Violent Clashes

Duncan Hewitt
International Business Times
China: Protests For High-Speed Rail Line To 'Abandoned' City Triggers Violent Clashes http://www.ibtimes.com/china-protests-high-speed-rail-line-abandoned-city-triggers-violent-clashes-1926516...

Fatal Police Shooting Under Investigation: Ministry

Xinhua
There are clear rules on the carrying and use of fire arms by police officers, and it will take time to confirm whether police had opened fire legally in the case.

China Tilts Towards Liberal Latin American Economies

Lucy Hornby and Andres Schipani
Financial Times
China is promoting a Chinese-built, cross-Andes rail link that would allow Brazilian ore and soya to be shipped from Pacific ports in Peru to Asia.

China’s Investing $46 B to Carve Route Through one of World’s Most Dangerous Regions

Lily Kuo
Quartz
Xi visiing Pakistan to sign energy and infrastructure deals for a corridor stretching to Xinjiang.

39 Hours Inside The Biggest Human Migration On Earth

Matthew Sheehan
Huffington Post
China's Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's rolled into one, the holiday unfolds on an entirely different scale. ...

China Is Creating a New Economic World Order Right Under the West’s Nose

Pepe Escobar
Nation
From new “silk roads” to 40,000 miles of high-speed rail, China is poised to dominate the 21st century global economy.

China Flexes Its High-speed Rail Muscles by Rolling out 32 New Routes in One Day

Lily Kuo
Quartz
China has lofty expectations of becoming a global leader in high-speed rail technology, with projects in over a dozen countries, as well as plans to more than double its own domestic network of high-speed rail, which is already the world’s largest.

Why China Won Mexico’s High-Speed Rail Project

Clint Richards
Diplomat
Underlying Mexico’s decision to choose China, and what may have made it the only country able to meet to proposal deadline, was its decision to finance 85 percent of the project through the Export-Import Bank of China.

Great Job on the Railroad. Now Go Back to China.

Edward Rothstein
New York Times
The narrative at the New-York Historical Society’s vigorous and imaginative new exhibition is not just of China’s impact on United States history or of the experiences and suffering of Chinese immigrants. It is how Chinese-American identity came to...

All Aboard: China’s Railway Dream

Carrie Gracie
BBC
At Asia’s biggest rail cargo base in Chengdu in south-west China, the cranes are hard at work, swinging containers from trucks onto a freight train. The containers are filled with computers, clothes, even cars.

China to Build Railway Linking East Africa

Agence France-Presse
Leaders agree $3.8bn project to link Kenya's port of Mombasa to neighboring Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan...

Six People Injured in Attack at South China Rail Station

James T. Areddy
Wall Street Journal
A single man slashed people outside a Guangzhou railway station. An armed police officer fired at and wounded the attacker, helping authorities capture the perpetrator.

What Could Happen in China in 2014?

Gordon Orr
McKinsey & Company
Gordon Orr predicts corporate focus on driving productivity, increased interest in CIOs, bankrupt shopping malls, and European investment in Chinese soccer clubs. 

Kenya’s Kenyatta and China’s Xi Sign $5 Billion Deals

BBC
Kenya has signed deals worth $5 billion with China to build a railway line, an energy project and to improve wildlife protection, officials say. They were signed during Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's first visit to China since his...

Ex-Rail Minister in China Gets a Suspended Death Sentence

Christopher Buckley
New York Times
A Beijing Beijing sentenced former Chinese minister of railways Li Zhijun to a suspended death sentence after finding him guilty of taking bribes and abusing his powers, state-run media reported.

Governor Brown Wants China Aboard California’s High-Speed Rail Project

Anthony York
Los Angeles Times
Chinese interest in California’s project is a welcome boost for Brown. Although state voters approved $10 billion in bonds for a high-speed railway in 2008, they have soured on it as cost estimates have ballooned. This is just one of many ways Brown...

Once So Mighty, Now Gone: China’s Ministry of Railways

Didi Kristen Tatlow
International Herald Tribune
The massive rail system, which employs more than 2 million people, is being turned into a state-owned corporation. Among ordinary workers, there’s considerable anxiety, and an insistent concern about whether their lives will actually...

Caixin Media

03.09.13

Is Railway Reform Finally On Track?

Finally, it seems the railways ministry may soon be restructured as part of a wider exercise by the government to streamline its ministries. Putting railway reform on the agenda of this year’s meetings of the National People’s Congress and the...

China Signals Reform Of Rail System

Colum Murphy
Wall Street Journal
 China signaled it is on the verge of shaking up its massive railway system, long plagued by corruption allegations and heavy debt. Reform of China’s Railways Ministry will start once a plan to merge it with China’s Transport...

“Digital Disaster” Frustrates Would-Be Train Ticket Buyers

David Wertime
It’s a digital disaster. With a Chinese travel crunch looming, China’s online ticketing system is quickly turning into a boondoggle of historic proportions.

How Dangerous Liaisons Led to Massive Corruption

Wang Chen, Gu Yongqiang, and Yu Ning
A graft investigation into former railways minister Liu Zhijun that started in February 2011 has concluded with the ministry issuing a document on August 3 that lists six disciplinary violations Liu committed. The internal ministry notice sheds...

Caixin Media

07.11.12

Railroaded into a Fast-Train Technology Trap

The professional dreams of a team of locomotive designers and rail systems engineers sped along steel tracks through the countryside of northeastern China.The year was 2003, and high-speed track testing was under way between the cities of Shenyang...

Caixin Media

05.28.12

Rail Builders Shift Interest to Overseas Mines

After a three-year wait, China Railway Construction Corp. Ltd. (CRCC) recently won permission to launch a major copper mining project in Ecuador.The production agreement signed April 25 by Ecuador’s government and Corriente Resources, a Canadian...

Sinica Podcast

09.30.11

The Shanghai Train Accident

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
At least 284 people were injured on Tuesday when a train in the Shanghai metro smashed into another which had stalled on the tracks. The accident, which threw Shanghai into disarray, came only two months after another near-disastrous incident on the...

Sinica Podcast

07.29.11

Train Wrecks

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
After a long and hot July marked by the near-absence of most of our guests, Sinica host Kaiser Kuo is pleased to be back this week leading a discussion of the recent accident on the high-speed Hangzhou-Wenzhou rail line, an accident that has...

Sinica Podcast

01.07.11

China 2010—Year in Review

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This week we take a look back at China in 2010, revisiting some of the biggest stories we covered and discussing a few we missed. With Kaiser Kuo hosting the discussion as usual, our guests in the studio include Sinica stalwarts and regulars Jeremy...

The Quiet Heroes of Tibet

Pankaj Mishra from New York Review of Books
Earlier this year, shortly before boarding the new Chinese train from Beijing to Lhasa, I met Woeser, a Tibetan poet and essayist (she uses only one name). Unusual among Tibetans in China, who tend to avoid talking to foreigners, she spoke frankly...