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The signal of Shanghai subway crash   2011-09-28 09:44:00

A subway train in Shanghai rammed into another on Tuesday, injuring 260 people. Reportedly due to a signaling fault, the tragedy resembles the bullet train collision on July 23. Avoiding signaling mistakes is not impossible, therefore these frequent accidents in China apparently show flaws in the signaling system, a system which governs people's lives.

The coal mine safety problem has been a long nightmare for China. No matter how decisively the government vows to tackle the problem, accidents still constantly happen.

The rapid transit system should not follow this track. Increasing speeds should not come at a cost to public security.

The bullet trains were slowed down after the accidents and some lines may even be stopped. This is not the same situation or the subway. If we stop the Shanghai subway, the city's traffic would be paralyzed. In fact, with a passenger capacity of over 10 million people per day, the subway has taken up a key position in the transportation networks of Beijing and Shanghai. China's second-tier cities are also keen on subways nowadays.

However, subway development is confronted with many challenges such as overloading operations and a shortage of trained staff.

Many scholars are complaining that China is building subways too quickly. But when faced with an increasing public demand for subways, whether China could slow down this pace is not easy to answer.

Any absolute conclusions are helpless to China. The security risks that China faces in the long run are much higher than those in Western countries. One of the biggest challenges for China is how to manage these risks.

China should be more cautious and concentrated in avoiding risks. Although this is hard to do, the tragedies in Wenzhou and Shanghai keep reminding people that China cannot afford failure.

Shanghai has already had the appearance of a developed city, but accidents such as the subway collision and the Shanghai fire last November reveal that it is still a developing city at its core.

Many Chinese feel proud that the country's rapidly surging infrastructure could almost compete with those in developed countries. However, the fact that China's city management is backward deserves more attention and caution.

The public's fierce reaction to safety issues indicates that Chinese society has taken Western safety standards as a reference, which is real progress, though not in accordance with China's reality. We cannot complain about public demands being unrealistic. The only option is to try to satisfy these expectations.

We believe Shanghai will investigate the subway accident in the most thorough manner. The safety issue is critical. To ensure the lives of over 20 million people is a grand but painstaking mission, but it is the essence of modernization.


source : Global Times     editor:: Ma Ting
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