China Railway Group president dies

By Helen Wright07 January 2014

Bai Zhongren, the president of Chinese state-owned contractor China Railway Group, has died suddenly

Bai Zhongren, the president of Chinese state-owned contractor China Railway Group, has died suddenly.

Bai Zhongren, the president of Chinese state-owned contractor China Railway Group, has died suddenly.

The company, which ranked as the third largest contractor in the world in the 2013 Global Top 200 with revenues of US$ 74.6 billion, said Mr Bai died in an accident. However, local media reported the 53 year-old executive’s fall from a building as suicide.

China Railway Group said Mr Bai’s duties would be taken on by company chairman Changjin Li in the meantime as it looked for an acting president.

The contractor has grown rapidly since 2008, when its revenues totalled US$ 23.7 billion, as the Chinese government pushed ahead with nationwide rail projects, including new high-speed lines.

Reports suggest that China Railway Group amassed large debts as a result of its expansion, while the image of country’s rail construction industry has also suffered in the wake of corruption scandals and accidents.

A high-speed rail crash in Wenzhou, in eastern China in July 2011 killed 40 people, while in July 2013 a Beijing court handed a two-year suspended death sentence to Liu Zhijun, China’s Minister for Railways from 2003 to 2011. He was found guilty of bribery and abuse of power in connection with construction of the country’s high-speed rail network.

Mr Bai had not been implicated in any safety or corruption investigations.

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