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China railways ministry to get 200 bn yuan
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 1, 2011

China's cash-strapped railways ministry will receive 200 billion yuan ($31.5 billion) in financial support to help fund projects, the official Xinhua news agency said Tuesday.

The ministry is sinking under a mountain of debt after borrowing heavily to finance the rapid expansion of China's railway network and some banks have stopped lending it money, state media said previously.

The Xinhua report did not explain what financial support would involve.

Over 80 percent of projects currently being built are facing construction slowdowns along the entire line, with many projects facing a one-year delay in completion, the 21st Century Business Herald said last month.

The railway ministry had 2.1 trillion yuan in debt at the end of June, bringing its debt-to-assets ratio to nearly 59 percent.

China has developed its vast transport network at breakneck speed, building the world's largest high-speed rail system from scratch in less than a decade.

But the government has been accused of overlooking safety in its rush to develop, most notably after the July high-speed rail crash near Wenzhou city and a metro collision in Shanghai in September that injured nearly 300.

In the weeks following the July crash, the government announced a halt to new train projects.

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Bangalore, India (AFP) Oct 20, 2011
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