BEIJING — For much of recorded history, traveling up the Yangtze meant braving turbulent currents and shoals. In recent years a more prosaic risk has been growing: poorly maintained ships and inexperienced crews.
Nature can still play a role. Initial reports indicate that the capsizing of a cruise ship on Monday may have been partly caused by hurricane-force winds that hit the ship. But most of the challenges facing passenger ships in China’s waterways are economic, brought about by cutthroat competition in the passenger ship industry.