China’s Founder of High-Speed Railways Under Investigation

China’s Ministry of Railways removed Zhang Shuguang as deputy chief engineer and is investigating him for alleged “severe violation of discipline,” Xinhua News Agency said, in the second probe of an official from the ministry in a week.

Zhang, 54, is known as the founder of China’s high-speed railway technology and an ally of former railway minister Liu Zhijun, Caixin Online reported yesterday. He was being investigated by the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, Xinhua said. Wang Yongping, spokesman for the Ministry of Railways, declined to comment when reached by telephone.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pledged to punish abuse of power by officials in an online interview with citizens on Feb. 27 and said the root of corruption lies in a government that has too much unrestrained power.

China wants to spend as much as 4 trillion yuan ($609 billion) as part of a five-year plan starting this year as it works to ease transport bottlenecks and spread economic development, the China Securities Journal reported on Dec. 8. China is planning to spend 2 trillion yuan on high-speed rail as it plans to build a faster and bigger network.

A 220.9 billion-yuan high-speed rail line between Beijing and Shanghai will begin operations by the middle of June, ahead of a previously planned 2012 opening, Xinhua News Agency reported Jan. 4, citing Liu.

Liu, 58, was removed from his post last month and is under investigation for “severe” disciplinary violations, the Xinhua News Agency reported Feb. 25. He was accused of abusing his position and receiving “a large amount of money” in bribes, Xinhua said Feb. 12.

Shares of CSR Corp., the nation’s largest trainmaker, slid 3.8 percent to 7.84 yuan in Shanghai as of 1:44 p.m. today, while China CNR Corp. dropped 3.3 percent to 7.94 yuan.

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