The following article was written by Chen Guojie, a senior researcher at the Chengdu Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and translated by Three Gorges Probe:
Since the 1950s, 22 million people have been moved to make way for hydropower dams in China, according to official statistics. Most of the affected people are still living in poverty. Although some have seen their standard of living improve after resettlement, as many as eight million people displaced by dams, one-third of the total, are living in a state of absolute poverty.
The problems associated with dam-related resettlement do not exist only at a single project, in a certain region or a particular time period; they are chronic and nationwide. They are not simple or technical issues, but rather, strategic and ideological ones. It is therefore impossible to solve these problems without a serious and comprehensive rethinking of the ideology and policies of the past, leading to reforms of the system and changed ways of thinking. [Full text]