The Network Behind Railroads—A Few Thoughts on the Modernization of China

Dr. Sun Yat-sen once said, “Without the Railroad Protection Movement in Sichuan, the Wuchang Uprising would probably be delayed for about a year.” What did railroads have to do with revolution? In fact, industrial development depends heavily on economic system, which is closely tied to political structures. Behind the railways is the essential network for modernization—the establishment of a country’s financial, economic, legal, and political “infrastructures.” From the Beijing-Zhangjiakou railway to the high-speed maglev trains, how far has China’s “infrastructure” development gone?

About the Documentary

100 Years of the Beijing-Zhanjiakou Railway
Produced by: Around China, CCTV
In 1909, Jeme Tien-Yow built the Peking-Kalgan railway (now the Beijing-Zhanjiakou railway), the first railway in China constructed without foreign assistance. Other countries had their eyes on it, and this stimulated a series of nationalist movements to “take back railway rights and manage our railways.” The movements foreshadowed the Railway Protection Movement, which contributed to the outbreak of the 1911 Revolution.