《经济学人》:中国火车相撞事故
日期:2011-08-01 11:06

(单词翻译:单击)

A train crash in China
中国火车相撞事故

A new third rail
新的政治高压线

Suddenly the Communist Party’s showcase project is in trouble
中共的形象工程突然陷入困境

Jul 30th 2011 | BEIJING | from the print edition

NO TRANSPORT accident has caused such an outcry in China as did the collision on July 23rd of two bullet trains, in which at least 39 people died. With the accident and the railway ministry’s crass response, public grievance is widespread. A cherished project, the rapid expansion of what is already the world’s longest high-speed rail network, is in tatters.

7月23日中国两列动车相撞,造成至少39人殒命,一时舆论汹汹,为历次交通事故所罕见。此次事故连并铁道部的应对失据,令公众怨声四起。这项被中共奉若至宝的世界最长高速铁路网快速扩张工程,如今却成了烂摊子。

The crash on a viaduct near the coastal town of Wenzhou is above all a big embarrassment to the Communist Party itself. Only a few weeks earlier party officials had been crowing about the network’s latest, and most expensive, addition: a 1,320km (820-mile) line between Beijing and Shanghai that cost more than $30 billion. Its opening was timed as a celebration of the party’s 90th birthday on July 1st. Soon services on the new line were disrupted by power cuts. Angry passengers waited for hours in sweltering heat.

首先来说,这起发生在滨海城市温州附近高架桥上的火车相撞事故令中共大为难堪。仅在几周前,中共官员对一条刚修建的、耗资最大的铁路网始终不吝溢美之词:那是一条连接北京和上海的铁路线,全长1320公里,造价超过300亿美元。其开通时间定在中共“七一”90华诞当天以作为献礼。不久之后新线路的运营就受到停电事故的干扰,愤怒的乘客只能在闷热的车厢中等候数小时。

The collision occurred on another line that opened two years ago. It was the four-year-old network’s first fatal crash, and the bloodiest train accident since more than 70 people died in 2008. As it did then, the railway ministry responded to this week’s fatalities by sacking officials from the region responsible, in this case Shanghai. But as even some state-owned newspapers have pointed out, the man appointed to succeed the bureau’s disgraced chief had himself been demoted in connection with the 2008 accident.

这次碰撞事故发在另外一条于两年前开通的线路上,这是高铁网络4年时间里首次发生的重大撞车事故,也是自发生死亡70余人事故的2008年以来最为惨重的火车事故。与当时做法如出一辙,为应对本周的恶性事故,铁道部解雇了责任地区(这次是上海)的几名官员。但即便是一些国营报纸也纷纷指出,该局被撤职局长的继任者曾因牵涉2008年事故而被免职。

Twitter-like social-networking services have played a huge role in exposing the government’s cack-handed response. These have become enormously popular (Twitter itself is banned). The government often tries to rein them in during crises by blocking the use of sensitive keywords. But in this case the authorities have resisted interfering. Online, many have demanded the dismissal of the new railway minister, Sheng Guangzu. The last one, Liu Zhijun, was sacked only in February for presumed corruption. His removal ushered in a less feverish approach to high-speed rail construction. But many Chinese still complain that the new services are too expensive and that cheaper, conventional services are being cut.

类似推特的社交网络服务在揭露政府的应对不力方面发挥了巨大作用。它们极受欢迎(推特却被禁止),危机期间,政府时常通过屏蔽敏感词的方式设法对它们加以管控。但这一次当局没有横加干预。许多人在网上要求罢免新任铁道部长盛光祖。前任部长刘志军在二月份刚刚由于涉嫌腐败被免职。他的离职令如火如荼的高速铁路建设有所降温,但许多中国人仍旧抱怨说,新班次过于昂贵,而更廉价、更常规的班次却日益遭到削减。

Mr Sheng has certainly failed to improve the typical high-handedness of his ministry. It waited more than a day before holding its first press conference on the accident. Rail officials have been sparing in their expressions of regret. 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.

无疑,盛光祖未能让铁道部一贯的霸道作风有所改进。铁道部在时隔一天多以后才首次就事故召开新闻发布会。铁路官员们在懊悔之余百般推脱,对于一列火车如何与另一列火车发生追撞的问题,也并未急于作答。7月28日,他们终于将责任归咎于信号故障。最令人惊异的是,该部似乎轻率地急于移走残骸,甚至要埋掉其中的一部分,这实在令人匪夷所思。

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.

据报道,警察们无视铁路职工的命令,执意在一节损坏严重的车厢中进行搜索,最终找到一名两岁的幸存者,而此前几个小时,铁道部曾表示那里已不再有生命迹象。网上一段广为流传的视频显示,就像一些围观者所说的那样,当车厢被移开铁路线的时候,两具尸体从车厢中掉落下来。据说如果受害者家属同意快速补偿协议的话,官员们会额外给他们一笔钱,这些官员也已受到批评。

The disaster is a setback for the ambitions of Chinese companies hoping to use their experience in building high-speed trains and railways to cash in on demand for such technology abroad. China’s relatively low prices will now be less of a selling point. For comparison, Japan has operated bullet trains for 47 years without a fatal accident.

这起灾难也令中国公司的雄心受挫,它们原本希望利用自己在建造高速火车和铁路方面的经验,满足海外对该项技术的需求从而大赚一笔。中国相对低廉的价格在现如今不会是很好的买点。相比之下,日本新干线已运营47年,从未发生一次重大事故。

Yet the party will worry most about the political repercussions. Some state-controlled newspapers have defied orders—secret but, as often, leaked on the internet—from the party’s powerful propaganda ministry to accentuate the positive, such as tales of heroism and sacrifice in the relief efforts. The Global Times, a Beijing newspaper, said the railway ministry was not alone in its “arrogance”. Public opinion, it said, could no longer stand this. “The relationship between the government and public is like that of a ship and water. Water can keep the ship afloat or sink it.” With even its own media giving such warnings, the party has reason to fret.

而政治影响将会使中共最感头痛。尽管该党重权在握的宣传部要求重点宣传积极的一面,如救援行动中的英雄故事和献身精神等,但一些国营报纸对此命令(尽管属于机密,但经常泄露到网上)仍抗旨不尊。一份北京的报纸《环球时报》表示不单只有铁道部“傲慢无礼”。它说,民意将再也无法容忍这种态度,“政府和公众关系就像舟和水。水能载舟亦能覆舟。”既然连国有媒体都发出了这样的警告,那么中共的担忧也就不无道理了。

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重点单词
  • removev. 消除,除去,脱掉,搬迁 n. 去除,间距
  • disastern. 灾难
  • networkn. 网络,网状物,网状系统 vt. (以网络)覆
  • fretv. (使)烦恼,(使)焦急,(使)磨损,侵蚀 n. 烦
  • approachn. 接近; 途径,方法 v. 靠近,接近,动手处理
  • enormouslyadv. 巨大地,庞大地;非常地,在极大程度上
  • arrogancen. 傲慢,自大
  • conferencen. 会议,会谈,讨论会,协商会
  • corruptionn. 腐败,堕落,贪污
  • hasten. 急速,急忙 v. 匆忙,赶快 vi. 赶紧,赶快