"There is but one Yangtze River in the world. We have
          already done so many thoughtless things to it that
          we should now at the very least try our best to avoid
          repeating them."
                                  -- Dai Qing, February, 1989.
          A Chinese environmentalist and journalist, Ms Dai Qing
          edited "Yangtze! Yangtze!", the first Chinese popular
          book critical of the Three Gorges Project. "Yangtze!
          Yangtze!" was released in March 1989, at the height of
          the Three Gorges debate. For her dedication efforts in
          Tiananmen Square in June 1989, Dai Qing was detained
          without trial in a maximum security prison for eleven
          months. {Grainne Ryder (ed). 1990. "Damming the Three
          Gorges: What Dam-Builders Don't Want You to Know."
          Toronto: Probe International.}.
         +          Background Information About           +
         +       The Three Gorges Project (Part I)         +
Compiled from Various Sources
By the Working Group on TGP,
1. Basic Engineering Features
   (As Recommended by the Montreal-Based CIPM Yangtze Joint
   Venture (CYJV))
    Location                         Sandouping Village, Yichang
                                     Hubei Province
    Dam Height                       185 meters
    Dam Length                       2,150 meters
    Electric Generating Capacity     16,750 megawatts
    Total Cost                       US $10.7 Billion
    Construction Duration            18 years
    Length of Reservoir              500-600 km
2. Land Inundation and Population Resettlement
    Number of Counties Affected      19
    Total Population                 14 million
    Number of Towns Submerged        104
    Urban Centers Submerged
             Fuling (Population 80,000)
             Wanxia (Population 140,0000
             Part of Chongqing will be affected
    Population Resettlement          727,000 people
    Agricultural Land Submerged      14,500 hectares
    Historical Sites Submerged (some
      dating back to 10,000 B.C.)    108
3. Potential Environmental Impacts
  (1) WATER POLLUTION: The free flowing river will be transformed into a
  slow moving reservoir, which will further deteriorate water pollution.
  The toxic substances and pollutants will be slowly released from the land
  and residential areas when they are submerged.
  (2) FISH: Migration of fish will be blocked by the dam. The change in
  flowing speed of water in the reservoir would destroy the spawning
  grounds for many (up to 172) fish species. Particularly, the near-
  extinction Chinese Surgeon fish may be eliminated.
  (3) INUNDATION: large areas of land and forests will reduce the habitat
  which hosts thousands of invaluable animals. Some of them would driven to
  (4) LANDSLIDES: reservoir bank erosion may trigger large-scale
  landslides. The reservoir area is well-known for landslides. The
  regulated flow regime of the river would increase river channel and bank
  erosion, which would result in loss of agricultural land and also
  intensify flooding.
  (5) SEDIMENTATION: The reservoir would trap over 75% of the sediments.
  These sediments have been a constant source of "natural" fertilizer for
  downstream agriculture and fishery in the rice-bowl Yangtze Delta for
  thousands of thousands of years.
  (6) UNDERGROUND WATER POLLUTION: As more chemical fertilizers would have
  to be used to achieve the same level of production in Yangtze Delta. This
  would place extra economic burden on the already impoverished farmers in
  the region. It may will also increase the chance of introducing
  cancer-causing agents (such as nitrate) into surface and underground water.
  (7) SOIL EROSION: intensified use of land as a result of submergence of
  land and cultivation of unsuitable hilly land would produce serious soil
  erosion, which would cause sedimentation and reduce the life of the
  (8) WATER LOSS: Increased evaporation in the reservoir will reduce the
  flow of water downstream of the dam. As a result, the "Great Lakes" of
  China may dry up in a much faster speed.
  (9) SHANGHAI: The regulated flow of water would increase the chance of
  intrusion by salty sea water into the estuary and the underground water
  in Shanghai. As such the water supply of Shanghai would be affected by
  some extent.
4. Potential Social, Economic and Cultural Impacts
  (1) POPULATION RESETTLEMENT: Land and homes of up to one million people
  (the official figure of 727,000 is unreliable; one source of error will
  be the uncounted "black" children) will be submerged. They would lose
  their entire livelihood.
  (2) PAST YVPO RESETTLEMENT EXPERIENCE: According to internal
  (confidential report) prepared by the Yangtze Valley Planning Office
  (YVPO, or Chang Ban in Chinese) and other sources, past experience in
  China shows that these so-called "relocatees" have been treated like
  refugees. They got little compensation for their submerged homes and
  land. They were resettled in so-called "new houses" which are like
  "refugee camps" or "military camps".
  (3) THE DANJIANGKOU EXAMPLE: The Danjiangkou Dam in Hubei Province was
  built by YVPO in 1960s. It relocated 382,000 people. "In the past, people
  in the reservoir area suffered a lot" {quotation from YVPO internal
  report}. "Some are even driven into destitute and homeless. Those people
  are in extreme hardship." {quotation from Journal of the Yangtze River,
  No.4 (1982), p.68}. As such the conclusion by YVPO and the so-called
  Canadian "experts" in the Montreal-based CYJV that the Three Gorges
  relocation is feasible is simply groundless and senseless.
  (4) LAND AVAILABILITY: As we all know, resettlement is not merely a
  relocation of houses. Where do the relocatees (mostly farmers) find land
  to grow their food? China is very densely populated, and Sichuan is most
  densely populated. Can anyone find an inch of land that is not occupied
  and uncultivated in China? Again, the Danjiangkou Dam example, one
  village with a population of 97 was forced to receive ("welcome") 304
  relocatees and the population expanded to about 401!
  (5) WORLDWIDE EXPERIENCE: Relocation worldwide has been characterized as
  the "least satisfactory" aspect of dam construction by leading
  world-class experts such as Dr. Michael Cernea of the World Bank and Dr.
  Thayer Scudder, Professor of California Institute of Technology. This is
  NOT a prediction or speculation. It is based on their life-long
  experience researching on dam projects around the world. Commonly-used
  words describing dam-related relocation include: "a economic disaster",
  "a human trauma", or "a social catastrophie".
  (7) DAM SAFETY: the weight of the millions of tons of water behind the
  dam may increase the chance of earthquakes. Then a dam break or
  large-scale landslides may occur. The entire Yangtze Delta is subject to
  flooding. If a war broke out, the Three Gorges would be one of the
  important targets for attacking, as is usually the case. Then millions of
  lives below the dam are placed under risk of being washed to sea. Does
  anyone still remember the big flood in Southern Henan Province in 1975?
  Heavy rains caused the break of a chain of dams. Over 200,000 people were
  drowned and washed to the Pacific Ocean. Hundreds of thousands more were
  homeless. Cases of dam breaks were also reported in USA, Italy and many
  other countries, as recently as in 1985. But Three Gorges Dam is no
  comparison. If it ever broke, it would not be the loss of hundreds of
  thousands but millions of lives.
  (8) WATER-BORNE DISEASE: Since the reservoir is located in sub-tropic
  area, the outbreak of water-borne diseases such as malaria (nie ji) and
  schistosomiasis (xue xi chong bin) is highly likely, due to large areas
  of inundation.
  (9) LOSS OF CULTURAL HERITAGE: Over 100 historical sites will be
  submerged. Some date back to 10,000 B.C. Many of our cultural heritages
  would be lost. The beauty of the internationally-renowned Three Gorges
  would also be destroyed, since the increased water level would put most
  of the Three Gorges landscape under water.
  (11) OTHER ECONOMIC LOSSES: All the coal mines and metal mines worth
  millions of dollars will be submerged. Thousands of kilometers of
  highways and railways, and factories will have to be submerged or
  relocated (which is very costly). Thousands of acres of forests would
  have to be submerged as well. All the Fulling Zha Chai (Sichuan Preserved
  Vegetables) fields will also be submerged. Fuling is the only place in
  China (and in the world!) that produce that special kind of vegetable.
         +          Background Information About           +
         +       The Three Gorges Project (Part II)        +
 5. Some Highlights on Current Status of Decision Making
  (1) In a press conference on April 4, 1986, Premier Li Peng stated that
  the Three Gorges Project would NOT be started until all appraisals were
  completed. On April 3, 1989, Vice-Premier Yao Yilin announced at the
  spring session of the National People's Congress that a decision to build
  the world's largest hydroelectric dam had been postphoned for at least
  five years.
  (2) There had been oppositions in China against the Three Gorges Project
  mainly from the Chinese Political Consultative Congress and scientists
  from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of
  Social Sciences (CASS) and from universities such as Peking and Tsinghau
  Universities. Among the leading opponents were Qian Jia-ju, Zhou
  Pei-yuan, Zhou Gu-cheng, Li Yi-gong, Ecologist Hou Xue-yu, Former
  People's Bank of China President Qiao Pei-xin, Professor Huan Wan-li of
  Tsinghua, and well-known Journalist Dai Qing, etc. There have also been
  very strong reactions from Hong Kong and Taiwan.
  (3) After the release of the report by the Montreal-based CYJV so-called
  "experts", there are indications that the Chinese government is pushing
  eagerly for the Three Gorges Project. The decision was reached in July,
  1990 to proceed with TGP soon. The final decision has yet to be approved
  by the People's Congress (we all know what would be the outcome). The
  members of the Special TGP Committee were newly-appointed by Li Peng in
  July of 1990. The Chairman of the Committee is Mr. Zou Jia-hua, Head of
  the State Planning Commission.
  (4) After the June 4 Events of 1989, different opinions towards the Three
  Gorges Project within China have been further muted. It seems that the
  Chinese government is taking the advantage of this opportunity. As such
  every Chinese should be concerned since no single development project
  will have had such an impact on the future of China and on the lives of
  so many Chinese. The government should keep its promise that the decision
  on whether or not to build TGP should not be made before a throughout
  review of all possible consequences. It would be more appropriate that
  the Chinese people be informed and be allowed to participate in the
  decision making process.
5.  Information Sources
  (1) Grainne Ryder (ed). 1990. "Damming the Three Gorges: What Dam-
  Builders Don't Want You to Know". Toronto: Probe International. This is a
  very newly released book criticizing the final report prepared by the
  Montreal-based (CYJV).
  {Note: Probe International is a non-profit public interest research group
  that monitors the effects of Canadian aid and trade policies on the
  people and environment of the Third World}.
                Probe International
                100 College Street Toronto,
                M5G 1LS
                Telephone: (416) 978-7014.
  (2) Tian Fang, Lin Fa-tang and Ling Cun-xi. 1987. "On the Macro-Level
  Decision Making on TGP." Hunan Press of Sci. & Technol.
  (3) Tian Fang and Lin Fa-tang (eds). 1989. "A Second Look at the Macro-
  Level Decision Making on TGP. Hunan Press of Sci. & Technol.
  (4) Jhaveri, N. 1988. "The Three Gorges Debacle." The Ecologist  18:
  56-63.{Nayna Jhaveri is working for a Hong Kong-based organization which
  is involved in the campaign against TGP}.
                Hong Kong Environment Centre
                c/o Conservancy Association
                G.P.O.Box 157
                Telephone: (352) (03) 321.
  (5) Ryder, G. 1988. "The Three Gorges Dam: Whose Dam Business Is It?"
  Cultural Survival Quarterly 12: 2.
  (6) "Campaign to Stop Three Gorges". World Rivers Review  3(Aug/88):3.
FCSSC == Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars, Canada
      ==  Quan Jia Xue Lian  (2,1,2,2)    (in Chinese)

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