Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

Get access

(1,238 words)

In few countries railways play as important a role for the economy as in China. From the very beginning, railway construction was an ideological issue in China. The demise of the Qing dynasty prompted Chinese officials to use railways as a means of modernization, defense, and territorial organization. For the colonial powers the railways have been a means for expanding their sphere of influence and for further commercial and territorial expansion into the hinterland (railway policy). In light of two such contradictory goals, a conflict was inevitable. As a result, an e…

Cite this page
Comtois, Claude, “Railways”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 27 February 2024 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

▲   Back to top   ▲