Xi talks up Winter Olympics with 350 kph high-speed train

In the years leading up to 2008, the Beijing Olympic Games were regularly described as “China’s coming-out party.” The Chinese government certainly saw it that way, and it turned out to be an accurate description.

Not only did the Games give China’s government and many of its citizens a newfound confidence on the world stage, the collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008, and the global financial crisis only strengthened pride in China’s system. Since then, there is barely a soul on the planet who has not been touched by China, whether through Belt and Road investments or high-profile global acquisitions by Chinese companies. Domestically, companies in Shenzhen and Beijing now rival those in Silicon Valley for innovation, and their users and consumers are a generation of Chinese people who have only known economic growth.

So who needs the Olympics? Apparently, Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 still does. The top story on Xinhua News Agency’s English and Chinese home pages today is: “Xi stresses preparations for Winter Olympics as new high-speed railway opens.” Here’s more about the train route itself from Xinhua:

Some 110 years after China’s first independently designed and built railway went operational between Beijing and Zhangjiakou, the new high-speed railway line connecting the two cities was launched Monday, facilitating inter-city traffic and crucial for the co-host of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics…

With a maximum design speed of 350 kph [217.4 mph], it will reduce the travel time between Beijing and Zhangjiakou from over three hours to 47 minutes, facilitating inter-city traffic and crucial for the co-host of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.