High-speed rail stays on track

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China's newly-appointed railway minister has said the country will continue to develop its high-speed rail network as planned even after its former minister was ousted.

Sheng Guangzu, who took office on Feb 25 to replace former railway minister Liu Zhijun, made the remarks on Saturday when responding to questions whether China's policy of high-speed rail development will change with Liu's fall from grace.

Liu was placed under investigation for "severe violation of discipline" on Feb 12 by the discipline watchdog of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Liu's is "an individual case" and will not have a big impact on the railway system's future development and morale, Sheng was quoted by the Beijing News as saying.

He said the change of minister will not change the roadmap of China's high-speed railway development, as the country will continue to develop its fast train network under its national medium-to-long-term program.

The railway system now runs stably and achieved its mission during the past Spring Festival travel peak, he said.

It was the first time 62-year-old Sheng faced the media after taking office at the railway ministry. The former head of the General Administration of Customs was vice-railway minister before being transferred to customs as deputy commissioner in 2000.

Zhang Junbang, director of the Zhengzhou railway bureau and a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), told China Daily that the plan for building high-speed railways in his bureau's territory this year has not changed, and a high-speed rail line linking Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei province, and Shijiazhuang, capital of North China's Hebei province, will be completed by the end of this year.

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