tom friedman’s wet dream ends

A bullet train crash in China killed 39 people last weekend, and the Chinese government handled the disaster pretty much as one might expect:

Officials were slow to explain how one train crashed into the rear of the other. On July 28th they finally blamed signal failure. Most astonishingly, the ministry appeared in unseemly haste to remove the wreckage and, mystifyingly, even bury some of it.

In defiance of an order from rail staff, police reportedly persisted with their search through one badly damaged carriage and found a two-year-old survivor hours after the ministry had said there were no more signs of life. A video clip widely circulated online shows what some viewers say were two bodies falling out of carriages as they were being moved away from the line. Officials have also been criticised for allegedly offering victims’ families extra money if they agree to quick compensation deals.

Somewhere, Thomas Friedman has had to stop pleasuring himself to high-res pictures of Chinese transportation projects, and he is very angry about this. I don’t know why, though—this seems like exactly the model of opaque, unrealistic infrastructure development we need.

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