China extends high-speed rail network to Xinjiang
Beijing (AFP) - China tied the restive far-western region of Xinjiang closer to the rest of the country Friday, opening a high-speed rail line between its capital Urumqi and Lanzhou, in neighbouring Gansu, nearly 1,800 kilometres away.
A slick bullet train took off from Lanzhou West Railway Station at 10:49 am (0249 GMT), with female attendants in Uighur and other ethnic costumes serving 622 passengers, live footage on state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) showed.
The line, the first high-speed railway in China's remote and poor northwest, stretches through the high-altitude Qilian mountain range, an ancient section of the Great Wall and five strong wind zones, slashing travel time between the two cities by half to less than 12 hours, CCTV said.
Another train left Urumqi for Lanzhou two minutes later, according to the report.
Xinjiang, a vast area bordering Central Asia, is home to Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups
. It has long had a population of Han, China's dominant nationality, whose numbers have increased strongly over the past half century through immigration.
Though rich in natural resources such as oil and gas, the region has been the scene of ethnic and religious unrest characterised by clashes between local groups and authorities as well as violence both inside and outside the region that Chinese authorities have classified as religious-inspired terrorism.
A high-speed train is on its way to Beijing, from Nanning, southern China's Guangxi province, on June 13, 2014 (AFP Photo/-)
China is engaged in a crackdown on militancy in the region and earlier this month a court condemned eight people to death for two deadly attacks in Urumqi, state media said, bringing the number of death penalties or executions announced for Xinjiang-related violence to around 50 since June.
According to the state-run Xinhua news agency, the line linking Gansu's capital of Lanzhou to Urumqi is 1,776 kilometres (1,100 miles) long and its trains are designed to travel at a maximum speed of 250 kilometres an hour.
Plagued by scandal
The line was one of several being opened this month, including one that cut train travel times between the commercial hubs of Shanghai and Guangzhou from 16 hours to seven.
Completion of another high-speed line linking Beijing and Lanzhou in 2017 will cut train travel times between the Chinese capital and Urumqi from 41 hours previously to just 16, Xinhua said in a report last month.
A high-speed train departs from the Shanghai Hongqiao railway station, eastern China, on August 21, 2011 (AFP Photo/-)
Other new lines opening Friday include destinations in some of China's more remote and poorer provinces and regions, among them Guiyang in the southwest province of Guizhou and Nanning in Guangxi in the south.
China has long had an extensive rail network but in recent years has emphasised the development of super fast trains that have slashed travel times between major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, and made rail travel competitive with flying.
Only begun in 1999, China's high-speed rail network has quickly become the largest in the world, with more than 11,000 kilometres of track in service during 2013, with the total expected to reach 16,000 kilometres by 2020, according to official media.
In late 2012, China opened what it hailed as the world's longest high-speed train line linking Beijing with Guangzhou, near Hong Kong.
The high-speed network, however, has been plagued by graft and safety scandals following its rapid expansion, with a deadly collision in July 2011 killing more than three dozen people. The accident triggered a flood of criticism of the government and accusations that the authorities had compromised safety in its rush to expand.
The Lanxin high-speed railway linking Lanzhou and Urumqi comes as China is pushing a Silk Road Economic Belt to boost commercial ties with countries in Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, and beyond.
Xinhua last month quoted He Weigang, vice principal of the Communist Party school of Urumqi, as saying that convenient and efficient transportation was needed for Xinjiang as a bridgehead for the plan.
"The high-speed rail, by connecting Xinjiang with the rest of China and Eurasian countries, will play an important role in regional development and economic integration in the larger picture," he said.
Another indication of China is preparing for the future of the country, for its people. A government with its people on the mind is a good government. Putting the plan into action and accomplishing and completing it is good governance. Who cares about what system it is adapting, as long as it is for the citizens well being. What is democracy without progress and bettering the life of citizens? Communism is no good, so China has turned to pragmatism and it is working. The Uighurs should hurry up and jump on the express train fast and do not be left behind. The Great West movement of Chinese to develop will surely attract a lot of Easterners to make Xinjiang their home, competition will be intensified, so prepare yourself to take on the challenge, native Uighur.
这是中国为国家未来、为人民做准备的又一个迹象。心怀人民的政府是好政府，将计划付诸实施并最终完成，这是善治。只要为了人民福祉，谁会在乎政府采用什么 体制呢？没有进步、没有改善民生，又谈什么民主呢？共产主义不好，所以中国已经转向实用主义，并有所成效。维族人应该加快脚步，迅速跳上特快列车，不要落 在后面了。中国的西部大开发计划一定会吸引很多东部的人到XJ来安家落户，竞争会加剧，所以当地维族人要做好准备迎接挑战了。
There are some historical parallels between the US of 1880th and China of 2010th. Post civil war, industrial and especially rail extension into the Western dryer regions. Cheap labor and rapid technological advancement. Also regional military power, comparing Monroe doctrine with China regional doctrine. Lastly, financial and industrial empires make seemingly overnight.
Remember when the U.S. used to be industrious like China? Man...those were the days.
This article would have been so much better if it had included a map showing all these cities and their high-speed connection routes.
What's the difference between a naked white woman and a naked black woman?
One's on the cover of Playboy and the other's on the cover of National Geographic.
How do you fool a Chinese vampire?
Give him tomato ketchup instead of blood!
Many countries are making better use of the railroad-here in California for example, all we do is spend millions and millions of dollars on studies that lead to nowhere, and the project of starting a new railroad line never takes off.
Maybe China should plan California's high speed rail.
China working on infrastructure instead of spending 650 billion a year on the war machine.
BACK ALLEY GUY
Shows that America is lang behind ,& while Chine move a head we sit with our DC people getting richer ever day . OH yes we will build it but we will buy the parts from China. Just like the Bay Bridge.
China has the best railway network in the world now. Everything is fast and new.
well its all for the best. We "the United States" could build a high speed rail line and put millions of people to work but there would be no gurrantee they would be Americans PLUS what if another country told us to UNPLUG the train because they did not like the idea of us being industrial the train would have to be stored and sit for twenty years.
With the opening of more high speed lines, travelling by these bullet trains would be more convenient & pleasurable than travelling by planes. Especially for travellers who like sight seeing across the country.
While we waste so much of our tax dollar on social welfare they put their people to work.
Now the Muslim Terrorists can get to Beijing faster
High speed rail to Xinjiang. So Chinese can steal more goods and bring back home. Nothing news. NO DOGS NO CHINESE. NO MADE IN CHINA. YES WE CAN.
Of course the real citizens of Urumqi ( the Uighur ) cannot afford to use this useless train. Only the invaders and brutalizers of the population, the han chinese can afford it.
This is a sad day. This is so more reprehensible thieves from Beijing can steal more land and buildings. More han chinese thugs will take over (I guess they already have) all the government positions and steal businesses and work from the Uighur people.
Yes a new train. Paid for by the blood of the local people so the han chinese army can go there an kill more of them.
They will eventually extend it to all of southeast Asia and beyond. China is doing very well and America is falling faster than a crack *&s drawers under Obama's "leadership".
great, now they can transport troops with haste to crackdown on the Uighur people.
mexico cancelled their contract with china, thanka to japan abe request....now, no one want to do it….
trains? LOL who really uses trains these days? sure there are some i know im being a bit sarcastic, but it just seems funny to make a big deal about a #$%$ train hahah
Something Brazil will never learn from….
Brian Of Nazareth
Conglaturation on rair netwolk!