Slow down for the sake of people's safety

Thomas Chan, student at St Paul's Co-eductional College and YP cadet
Thomas Chan, student at St Paul's Co-eductional College and YP cadet |

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It took Japan more than 30 years of planning before the first Shinkansen "bullet train" went into service in 1964. Its trains initially travelled at speeds of up to 210 km/h. It was only this year that speeds of 300 km/h became possible.

On the other hand, it took less than 10 years of development before the China Railway High-speed (CRH) rail system was launched in 2007. China's high-speed trains can travel at more than 350 km/h.

After almost half a century of operation, the Shinkansen has had few accidents and never a fatal one.

Not so the CRH. On July 23, two of its trains collided in Wenzhou , killing at least 40 people and injuring nearly 200. The crash was blamed on human error.

Less than two weeks before the crash, three other CRH trains broke down.

A two-month railway safety review was announced on August 7 and train speeds were reduced across the network. Yet railway services were resumed within just 34 hours of the Wenzhou accident.

The mainland has made great progress in the past few years. Yet its reckless "development before safety" approach needs to be controlled.

A mainland blogger put it well: "China, please slow your flying pace, and wait for your soul, morality and conscience [to catch up]!"