China's Struggle for Railroad Development

China's Struggle for Railroad Development

China's Struggle for Railroad Development

China's Struggle for Railroad Development

Excerpt

Looking back over my five and a half years as Minister of Communications, I am deeply impressed by the performance of the Chinese railroads during that period of war and of momentous changes in our national life and economy. Railroad work, perhaps, was one of the most significant as well as one of the most valiant episodes of our war effort. The view that railroads are the key to successful economic mobilization was fully confirmed in China. Even our meager 6,047 miles of railroads contributed considerably to the immense achievement of war transportation during the last five and a half years; and there is no doubt that we would have been more successful in the prosecution of the war if our earlier railroad projects had materialized. Our railroads were called upon almost overnight to withstand an unprecedented test of strength and efficiency. Taking full account of the age-long difficulties of railroad development in China, of their deficient equipment, and of their innumerable other inadequacies, I feel justified in saying that in war service our railroads have done remarkably well. Their performance reassured me as to how much railroads can do for the progress of China after victory is won.

This war is to liberate us from the shackles of the past, as I believe it must, and I hope that victory will open for us a new era of rational and unobstructed railroad development.

My years in office have afforded me many opportunities to make plans and sketch beautiful pictures of an enlarged railroad system, many of which the vicissitudes of political events made impracticable. However, in spite of all disappointments, new construction even during our most difficult time has made up for much of the railroad mileage that was lost to the enemy or had to be destroyed in the course of the war.

The painter's vision lives. As I think of the future, I see miles and miles of new railroad tracks radiating from different centers, reaching out to every city and port of China, and providing sufficient communications to carry our nation onward to a new pinnacle of prosperity. Yet there are also dark moments of recollection, going . . .

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