US$28 mln embezzled from high-speed railway project


The Beijing-Shanghai high speed railway is under construction. [File photo]

About 187 million yuan (US$28 million) was found embezzled from the Beijing-Shanghai high speed railway project, China's top auditing body said on Wednesday.

The National Audit Office (NAO) conducted an interim audit between May and July in 2010. The audit report has been delivered to higher authorities and an investigation is underway.

Extending 1,318 kilometers, the railway linking two of China's largest cities is scheduled to open in June 2011. It is designed to have a speed of 350 kilometers per hour. The railway will be able to transport 80 million passengers a year.

Earlier this month, China's newly appointed railway minister Sheng Guangzu said that China would continue to develop its high-speed rail network under its national medium-to-long-term program.

In February, Liu Zhijun, the then minister of railways, was dismissed and placed under investigation for "severe violations of discipline," the language usually used in corruption cases.

According to the 12th Five-Year Plan, by the end of 2015, total length of the high-speed railway network will reach 45,000 kilometers, covering almost all cities with a population of more than 500,000.

( China.org.cn, March 23, 2011 )