One of the dirty little secrets about technological advances in Communist China is that there almost never started within Communist China. As much as the CCP would like to have us think they’re the next technological superpower, their myriad engineers, scientists, and other overcredentialed cadres keep building things with imported parts and/or stolen technology . . . and it still has problems.

The latest exhibit: the highly praised (from the outside) bullet train network in the eastern mainland, which suffered a bad crash earlier this year. As the Wall Street Journal noted, this should not have been a surprise:

. . . China’s high-speed rail network was in fact built with imported components—including signaling-system parts designed to prevent train collisions—that local engineers couldn’t fully understand, according to a review of corporate documents and interviews with more than a dozen rail executives inside and outside China.

During a late July lightning storm, two of China’s bullet trains collided in the eastern city of Wenzhou, killing 40 people and injuring nearly 200 in one of the world’s worst high-speed passenger-rail accidents.

The cadres quickly pinned it all on Anonymous (or, to be terminologically precise, “human error”), but – surprise! – the regime “recently postponed public release of its crash findings.” Of course they did.

The WSJ goes on to note that one of the more important pieces of the rail network was imported from Japan – with a built in “black box” to keep the ChiComs from stealing the technnology within. The contracting firm (an ex-state-run-enterprise that likely was “sold” to a cadre group in the 1990s) had trouble with the parts, but rather than simply agree not to steal the intellectual property, the cadres were OK with installing parts about which they didn’t know enough to keep them operating,

Then again, they decided lightning rods were unnecessary, too. Is it any surprise that that collision came during a lightning storm?

This is a tragic yet telling example of how “modern” Communist China works. Rather than a well-structured society based on freedom, property rights, and the rule of law, we have a slipshod edifice held together by fear, treachery, and corruption. The results is a rail system that gleams wonderfully for ignorant foreigners while killing innocent Chinese.

Does anyone really expect this bunch to inherit global leadership if we give it up? History tells us leadership seeks nations out more than nations seek it. If Washington ever sends it into exile, it’s headed straight to New Delhi, a stumbling Beijing’s effort to chase it down notwithstanding.