1. Message to Chinese Students and Scholars in Canada
        The following is a draft letter to General Secretary Jiang Zemin
concerning about the "Three Gorges (San Xia) Project" written by Chinese
students and scholars from McMaster University, Hamilton.
        In July this year, the State Council of China had a meeting at
which the "Report on the Three Gorge Project Argumentations" was accepted.
The Three Gorges Project, the largest project in China since 1949, is then
likely to start soon. As Chinese overseas students, we are obligated to
express our concerns about this project and therefore we have this draft
letter here. FCSSC is asking comments and suggestions from every unversity
or individuls on the draft letter. Based on these comments and suggestions,
FCSSC will finalize the letter. Please forward your opinions to FCSSC in
two weeks.
        The Three Gorges Project is a very complex project in Chinese
history. Besides the the draft letter of McMaster, we are providing you
with some background information of the project for your reference.
        In the letter, we are emphasizing that, (1) the decision of whether
starts this project or not should be based upon a scientific and democratic
way; (2) people have rights to know all the different views, arguments and
proofs pertinet to the project; (3) the importance of establishing a whole
system of legal and administrative procedures of decision making reqarding
to the Three Gorges Project and any future large projects in China. We
write this letter just because we are Chinese and we care about our
motherland. We are looking forward your comments. Thank you for your time.
2. The Draft of the Letter Prepared by McMaster
Jiang Zemin
General Secretary of
the Chinese Communist Party
General Secretary Jiang:
    As Chinese students and visiting scholars in Canada, we are writing
this letter to express our deep concern about the proposed "Three Gorges
    Ever since the acceptance of the "Report on the Three Gorges Project
Argumentations" at the recent meeting held by the State Council, we have
heard from various domestic sources that the Three Gorges Project is likely
to start soon. The Three Gorges Project is the largest of its kind since
the foundation of the People's Republic of China.  In view of its vast
investment, great complexity and wide ranging influence, we are of the
opinion that the crucial decision whether to implement the project or not
must be made through scientific and democratic procedures. In the past,
blind and arbitrary decision making based on the mere will of certain
officials used to inflict heavy costs on the people. Such blunders should
never be repeated.
    In the past few years, there have been heated debates on the proposed
"Three Gorges Project".  We strongly urge that the government keep its
promise to inform the people of important state affairs. This necessarily
requires the authorities to publicize all the different views, arguments
and proofs pertinent to the project, as well as the results of settled
debates, including the outcome of the "Report on the Three Gorges Project
    We hope the Three Gorges Project will offer an opportunity for the
government to establish a whole system of legal and administrative
procedures, whereby the submission, examination and implementation of
proposed items can be handled in a correct, scientific and effective way.
This will set a rule, as well as a legal foundation, to the planning  and
implementation of future projects, which are of crucial importance to the
well being of our nation and the people. We hope the above requests will
receive proper consideration.
                 Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars in Canada
3. Overview of the Three Gorges Project
 1. Major Concerns about TGP
     The Three Gorges Project (TGP) would be the largest single investment
(US $10.7 Billion) in Chinese history. The dam would also be one of the
largest of its kind in the world. The primary objective of TGP is to
produce electricity (16,750 Megawatts) to eliminate the problem of electric
shortage in Central and Eastern China. The location of TGP is in
Sandouping, Yichang, Hubei Province.
    TGP was first proposed by Mr. Sun Yet-sen in the 1930s. The
construction of TGP has been in the agenda of the various Chinese
governments for many times, but was suspended either due to the anti-
Japanese war and the civil war, or financial reasons. Following a series of
studies in recent years, the Chinese government has most recently announced
that the TGP is to be started soon.
     There has been strong oppositions both within and outside China which
are mainly from the Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress (Zheng
Xie) and the academic community. Among them are Mr. Qian Jia-ju and Mr.
Zhou Pei- yuan. CPPCC launched its own (independent) investigations of TGP
and concluded that TGP is not feasible.
     In addition to its high risk of investment ($US 10.7 billion in one
single project) and likely low efficiency, the giant TGP may also create
many environmental problems both upstream and downstream which affect the
area from Chongqing to Shanghai. Sedimentation in the reservoir, loss of
wildlife habitats, water quality deterioration, and river bank erosion are
just a few of them. Agriculture in the Yangtze Delta and fishery in China's
"Great Lakes" may experience heavy losses as a result of 75% reduction in
silts which are natural fertilizers.
     The creation of the large reservoir would inundate the land and homes
of about one million local residents. 104 towns and villages and two cities
(Fuling and Wanxia) would have to be submerged. Sichuan is the most
populated region in China. The chance of resettling the one million people
and finding enough land for them to earn a living are highly questionable.
TGP will also submerge many mines, factories and historical sites.
     The huge volume of water behind the dam extending to Chong-qing may
trigger earthquakes and large-scale landslides. The dam would also be the
first target for an enemy attack if war breaks out. A dam break may also
occur due to natural earthquakes, big floods, or engineering faults. As
such, millions of lives from Wuhan to Shanghai would be endangered.
     These concerns have not been adequately addressed. The Chinese people
have not been informed of the possible risks. Given the potential effects
of TGP on the economy, environment and society of China, the decision to
proceed with TGP is pre-mature.
2. World-Wide Reactions to the Final Report Prepared by the Montreal-Based
   CYJV Consulting Company.
     The report was the result of a study funded by the Canadian
International development Agency (CIDA). It was released earlier this year.
The Montreal- based CYJV is associated with the major Canadian hydro
companies who have been competing for the major contracts to build TGP
(conflict of intesrests).
     Despite world-wide oppositions to TGP, the Chinese government is now
using the conclusion of the report to push for TGP. The following are two
of the reactions to the CYJV report.
     (1) "This is not engineering and science, merely an expert
         prostitution paid for (by) Canadian taxpayers". (Prof Vaclav Smil,
         Dept Geogr., U. Manitoba. Prof Smil is a respected China expert
         and author of "The Bad Earth: Environmental Degradation in
     (2) "The consequences of failure at Three Gorges Dam would rank as one
         of history's worst man-made disasters. Unfortunately, the
         engineering consultants do not address the safety issue either
         systematically or coherently". (Philip B. Williams, Ph.D.and P.E.,
         Dam Safety Expert, USA).
4. Acknowledgement
    This package (in three parts) is prepared by the Working Group on the
Three Gorges Project, FCSSC. The FCSSC would like to express its gratitude
to the group of Chinese students and scholars at McMaster University,
Hamilton, Ontario for their providing the draft of the open letter for
    The department of Theory & Strategy Study (TSS) of FCSSC would like to
thank Mr. Yao Yude, a members of Supervisory Committee of FCSSC, and
Mr. Lu Dennis, the former Vice Chairman of FCSSC, for their suggestions and
helps on organizing the TGP group. The TSS also thanks all other FCSSC
executives and council members who helped and/or have made their
suggestions and comments on this TGP issue.
FCSSC == Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars, Canada
      ==  Quan Jia Xue Lian  (2,1,2,2)    (in Chinese)

previous | next