Shanghai agrees to more talks on maglev

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 January, 2008, 12:00am

The Shanghai municipal government has promised to hold another round of public discussions on the controversial magnetic levitation train project after residents threatened to protest yesterday during British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's visit.

An announcement posted yesterday on the website of the Shanghai Urban Planning Administration Bureau said authorities were studying initial feedback and would solicit public opinion again at 'some proper time' in the near future.

Residents could send their opinions and suggestions to the municipal government via e-mail, telephone and mail even though the first round of public discussion ended on Friday, the announcement said.

The municipal government also had warned residents not to conduct illegal protests against the project amid chat room talks of taking advantage of Mr Brown's visit.

On January 12, more than 2,000 Shanghai residents protested outside the main government building against extending the maglev train, which runs from Longyang Road east to Pudong International Airport, westward to Hongqiao, the city's other airport.

The protest was Shanghai's largest since anti-Japanese demonstrations in April 2005.

The city's party chief, Yu Zhengsheng, instructed officials last week to deal with the issue 'calmly, carefully and with caution when it comes to using police force'.

The 35 billion yuan maglev project connecting Shanghai with Hangzhou , the capital of Zhejiang province , has also drawn protests from residents living along the line. It was suspended last May due to fierce opposition over radiation fears.