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As debt mounts, Beijing halts two high-speed rail projects

Fate of $20bn in new lines depends on outcome of 'deep' review

China has relied heavily on infrastructure projects such as high-speed rail to maintain economic growth  during slowdowns.   © Reuters

Beijing has ordered a halt to work on two high-speed rail projects with total investment of 130 billion yuan ($20 billion) in Shandong and Shaanxi provinces, signaling concern over growing local government debt.

Work on a 270 km line connecting Jinan, the capital of eastern China's Shandong Province, and the city of Zaozhuang in the south of the province, was suspended last month, Caixin has learned. The other action saw work come to a halt this month on three lines with planned total investment of 71.6 billion yuan being built as part of a project called Guanzhong Chengji, which consists of 13 lines in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, centered on the provincial capital of Xi'an.

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