Lack of Trust and Too Much Pride Can Cost Lives

5 Oct

China received a wakeup call this July when two of its Bullet trains collided, killing 40 people and injuring over 190. The crash was a result of a failure in the security technology used by the trains. The safety systems are a compilation of many new technologies and require technological expertise to operate and maintain.

This event originated from a lack of understanding by Chinese engineers on how their own trains worked. The parts that make up the safety systems are imported from Japan. This leads in to the first question, “why didn’t China’s engineers know how the system worked?” The answer is a lack of trust.


China is notorious for the illegal copy of technology, leading many companies that interact with China to only sell “Black Boxed” technology. The “Black Box” is a term used when the product is sold, but no blueprints or real depth of knowledge is provided to the consumer. The lack of understanding, and China’s attempts to use the technology together with their own systems were a major factor in the disaster. The question comes to mind: “Why would China attempt to build and operate the rail system themselves, rather than hire skilled engineers more familiar with the technology from overseas?” The answer is pride.


China’s sense of pride in their state of the art trains overshadowed their sense of reason. China forbade any foreign company from bidding on the train project, and the safety components involved in it. China’s choice to ban outside expertise and competition resulted in errors that culminated in the collision of two trains. Making decisions based on a display of bravado is often a grave mistake.

What This Means for China and You

China needs to put forth effort to respect intellectual property and to allow international involvement in its industries. These steps foster a sense of credibility for China and would help prevent any future incidents from occurring. We can learn a lesson from what happened to China in this incident. It is important for others to trust you in your professional life. To prevent disasters of your own, it is always best to ask for help before you need it, even if you think you will appear foolish. A credible and humble person will avoid many of the pitfalls that they will face when interacting with others.

by Aydin Gultekin


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