HS2 – The unofficial view from China

By Nick Bartman & Joe Rukin

Last week, when Xi Jinping visited the UK, supportive t-shirts and banners which turned out to have arrived in London via diplomatic bags may have given it away that the Chinese Government wanted the visit to come across in a positive light. Given the nature of the Chinese Government, if that was what they were willing to do over here, you can only imagine what they were willing to do over there.

Whilst Chinese state censors have successfully controlled all published media to only report the good-news party line, they have struggled to control blogs where, more often than not, the true stories routinely emerge, before the censors close them down. On HS2, they have not surprisingly taken the long-held view of the Stop HS2 Campaign, that over the last decade China has built up a vast high speed rail industry, and now have no other option but to tout for business internationally.

Of course it is also worth noting that  originally Chinese high-speed trains were meant to run at 380kph (238mph), close to the the original proposal in the UK of 400kph/250mph. While the UK proposed speeds have already come down to 360kph/225mph, in China they were brought down to a maximum of 300k/188mph following the Wenzhou 2011 crash, but generally don’t go faster than 250k/155mph as to go faster the weather conditions have to be right, tracks have to be good and signalling technology has to be faultless, which generally speaking they aren’t.

In summary:

Due to China suddenly having to dramatically downsize their overly optimistic high speed rail development programme, the Chinese government and suppliers are drowning under the weight of giant manufacturing facilities, rolling stock, trackside technology etc that will never be required in China. The government is heading for a turbulent time justifying their errors. Even the overhead and investment getting this far could finance a small country.

The leadership of China have now secretly acknowledged the financial reality of this chaos and is now focusing on other countries, such as UK, that can be utilised for some of these high speed train excesses. Doing this makes an attempt to neutralise over-production, and justifying manufacturing facilities. The Chinese will undercut Japanese and French high speed train suppliers.

The blogs also report the UK as “a fallen word leader” which is now standing in line with its begging bowl along side many developing countries – mainly in Africa. The Chinese are amused how the UK has messed itself up to the point is now crawls to China for money. This week’s display of royalty and politicians dressed in red has been laughed at in China.

Cameron forever at Xi’s side has been seen as a joke. The blogs say that Xi has played a masterful game of bluff by kidding Cameron et al of great long-term benevolent investment, whist the actual masterplan is to draw as much inflated interest from loans and taking control of as many essential utilities, real estate and manufacturing of domestic brands as soon as possible, thus sucking extraordinary sums of cash out of the Uk economy.

Xi Jinping sees HS2 never making money (high seed rail in China won’t) but HS2 can be used to placate wrong decisions in China, whilst currying favour to gain access to other far more profitable UK investments.

The blogs also report that the USA and particularly the European Union (as a body) are proving a hard nut to crack as they are individually and collectively suspicious of China (particularly the risks to state security) but the UK, courtesy of mainly Cameron and Osborne, have been easier to kid as they preside over a fallen nation that now can do nothing but rely on Chinese cash. In short, Xi et al see the UK as a push over.

This is not an interpretation, fabrication or imaginative interpretation of China’s blogs this week: these are irrefutable reported facts of truth, and are worthy of our quiet very British reflection.

The UK Government needs to be asked why it is looking at buying into Chinese HSR when it is clear their technology is insufficiently advanced. The answer can only come back that it is cheaper than Japanese or French versions.

The issue our government won’t admit to is that buying Chinese HSR curries relationships for other Chinese investments, even though this is abundantly clear. The gamble is that Chinese HSR would make exponential technological advances, but with all the cut backs in the Chinese HSR programme, this seems a gamble we ought not to be banking on.

Further information:

China Crisis- high speed trains withdrawn, new projects shelved following crash.

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