China strives to rebuild the reputation of its railway sector as it seeks to export its technology aborad

Suspended death sentence for corrupt rail engineer in China

The Chinese railway engineer responsible for designing the country’s high-speed rail network has been given a suspended death sentence for accepting 47.6 million yuan (£4.85m) in bribes.

Zhang Shuguang, former deputy chief engineer and transportation bureau head of China's now-defunct Ministry of Railways, was found guilty of taking the money from Chinese companies in exchange for contracts related to work on the mega rail projects.

Most of the money, taken over an 11-year period, has been recovered.

Zhang faces a life in prison for his offence after his death sentence has been suspended for two years. Typically, death sentences in China are turned into life sentences based on the convict’s good behaviour.

According to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua, the disgraced engineer apologised during the trial for his actions, saying he was negotiating hard with the firms to get the best deal for China.

China’s 10,000km high speed rail network, the largest in the world, has been plagued with problems since its inception.

In 2011, two high-speed trains collided on a viaduct in the Zhejiang province, in eastern China, killing 40 people.

Two years after the accident the country’s railway ministry, responsible for construction of the network, was dismantled amid allegations of corruption and power abuse.

Several officials have been arrested and convicted, including Zhang’s deputy at the transport bureau, Su Shunhu, who received a life sentence last week for taking 24 million yuan in bribes.

China is striving to rebuild the reputation of its railway sector as it seeks to sell its technology abroad.

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