The Jinghan Railway was China’s first
long-distance railway project and, although under Chinese control, it was
financed by Belgian and French banks. Because of political sensibilities, the
French were kept very much in the background and a Belgian company was formed
to handle the project – ‘Societe d’etudes des chemins de fer en China.’
Contracts between China
and the company were signed and finance was secured in 1898.