High-speed rails to continue as ex-minister sacked

Updated: 2011-03-06 09:31
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BEIJING - China's newly appointed railway minister said Saturday that China would continue to develop its high-speed rail network under its national medium-to-long-term program even after its former minister was ousted.

Sheng Guangzu, who took office last week to replace former railway minister Liu Zhijun, made the remarks when responding to questions whether China's policy of high-speed rail development will be changed with Liu's fall from grace.

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Sheng was joining a panel discussion of the ongoing parliamentary session as a cabinet member to hear lawmakers' suggestions and opinions on government work.

As to the solvency of the ministry's affiliated companies, Sheng said the 1.8 trillion yuan ($274 billion) debt used for building the country's massive high-speed rail network was still "at a controllable level," in light of debt ratio in other countries.

"I believe the high-speed rail market will be rosy" after many under-construction projects put into service, he told lawmakers.

The discipline watchdog of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said on February 12 that Liu was under investigation for "severe violation of discipline."