News / Asia

    China Horrified by High-Speed Train Accident

    A high speed bullet train runs past a railway bridge as workers use cranes to lift a wrecked carriage onto a truck after two trains crashed and derailed in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, July 26, 2011.
    A high speed bullet train runs past a railway bridge as workers use cranes to lift a wrecked carriage onto a truck after two trains crashed and derailed in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, July 26, 2011.


    • VOA's Bill Ide reports on China's deadly train accident

    Sarah Williams

    The Chinese government has ordered an investigation into the train crash that killed at least 39 people Saturday.

    The accident took place on a high-speed rail line in eastern China between the cities of Hangzhou and Wenzhou, and has sparked public outrage. VOA's Sarah Williams spoke with correspondent William Ide, who is traveling in Beijing.

    Tell us exactly what happened on Saturday.

    "So far all we know is that one of the trains had stalled after being struck by lightning, and then another train rammed into it. But in between, there hasn't been a lot of indications of what else might have happened and this in turn has churned up a whole bunch of response not only online from netizens but also in the state media from reporters and bloggers all asking one of the big questions that how is it that this one train had stalled and yet the other train was not contacted before it rammed into that train. So, still a lot of questions there and of course, that's why they've begun this review."

    Listen to the entire interview with Bill Ide in Beijing

    It's interesting that you say there has been critical comment even from the state media. That suggests, you know, there is a lot of concern about this incident.

    "As someone who watches China, and who has been watching China for a long time, I've been really surprised at the amount and outpouring of criticism that there's been. And of course in the state media, it's more along the lines of calling for a more thorough investigation but still nonetheless being very outspoken. Online, though, there's a lot of criticism, a lot of skepticism, cynicism, there were railway ministry officials have said repeatedly they were sorry about what has happened and this has been basically mocked online. I saw this one poll this morning that was saying, 'Do you agree that they're really sorry, does this make a difference?' And of course a lot of people online don't really think it gets to the bottom of it, what they really want to know is why these problems happen.

    People stand by candles lit in memory of those who were killed in the train accident in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province July 25, 2011 (Reuters).

    These high speed trains have been a great source of pride, previously, for the country.  Now, the public must view them somewhat differently.

    "Yeah, and again there was a poll on that too. Not necessarily on taking high speed rail, but just taking trains, 'Are you going to take a train,' the poll asked.   Obviously, people have not entirely stopped taking trains because of the incident, but it has raised questions in the minds of people who need to get from one place to another.  And it really has punctured a hole, I think, in the pride of this massive effort that now, some believe may have taken place too fast and because of that fact, there were safety issues that have arisen in the process.

    Bill, there's been a lot of publicity about a two-year-old girl, who was badly injured in the crash, and she's received a lot of publicity.  What is known about her situation?

    "Right now, we know she's in stable condition. But, on the one hand, while I was earlier saying that there's a lot of criticism out there, there's been a tremendous outpouring of concern for fellow human beings in the wake of this incident.  There were villagers that rushed to the scene and helped authorities to rescue those who had been injured. And the case of Xiang Weiyi, this young girl has also captured the heart of a nation, really, and on television here, they've gone and found her parents, who've both passed away, they've found their Twitter-like blog, and postings that they've put up, even up to several hours before this incident occurred. And it's a really touching story, and they're people who've put postings up in return, wishing her well and to go on and have a happy life."

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    This forum has been closed.
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.