In the 19th century, laborers from China helped build railroads spanning California and linking the U.S. coasts. In the 21st century, the Chinese may be back — not for backbreaking labor, but with financial and technological muscle.

The People’s Republic of China has more miles of track for high-speed trains than any country in the world, but California has none.

The Chinese want in on the state’s fledgling high-speed rail project. They’re eager to help bankroll and build the system and, eventually, provide the trains to operate on the tracks.

China’s not alone. Eight nations have agreements with the California High-Speed Rail Authority to share information about high-speed rail — and each wants a piece of California’s business.

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