Anti-maglev residents plan another protest

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 February, 2008, 12:00am

Shanghai residents opposed to the maglev train line are planning another protest amid concerns the city is moving ahead with the project despite official statements that it is still under consultation.

One resident who declined to be named said organisers of the anti-maglev movement had 'applied for a legal protest', to be held on Saturday.

On a popular website, some claimed the application had been rejected. However, a city government spokesman declined to give the status of the application yesterday.

'The maglev issue is still ... soliciting opinions from people,' spokesman Chen Qiwei told a regular news conference. 'Relevant departments are still compiling and analysing people's opinions and will invite experts to do careful research. And they will take opinions from the public again after that.'

The government warned against unauthorised gatherings following a series of mass demonstrations against the project last month. A protest on January 12 outside of the main government office in the heart of Shanghai was attended by about 2,000 people.

Residents fear that having the train running close to their homes could threaten public health, generate noise and lower property values.

Some residents claimed Shanghai was still pushing ahead with the project, which the city aims to complete before the World Expo in 2010. They claimed that people were being relocated from near the South railway station, which will be on the maglev route, and said work had started on a tunnel for the train.

The city says the tunnel under the Huangpu River is for vehicles.

'Construction of the project is progressing. If we wait, there won't be any conclusion,' said a resident living along the proposed route.

Shanghai's existing maglev line runs between the Pudong airport and a metro station. The city wants to extend it to the World Expo site, the South railway station, Hongqiao airport and eventually to Hangzhou in Zhejiang province .