State-run media say the Chinese government plans to establish a fund worth close to $7 billion to alleviate problems associated with the Three Gorges Dam project, chiefly around Chongqing. The money will supposedly be used to protect the local environment, build infrastructure and alleviate the region’s staggering unemployment. But will the new money go where it’s supposed to, or will it go the way of previous “investments” in the region (i.e., into officials’ pockets)? From Xinhua via RedOrbit:
Investigation shows the unemployment rate in areas around the Three Gorges Reservoir was as high as 11.5 percent last year, despite a drop of 1.3 percentage points from 2005, said Wang Hongju, mayor of Chongqing,
Special funds have been set up by the municipality to support new private enterprises, including foreign-funded ones, that enter the areas, while the country has designated coastal economically developed provinces to help districts of the reservoir area.
“We must make sure that the life of the relocated residents will get better day by day instead of stagnating at the same level,” said Wang. [Full Text]
See the here for more on the embezzlement of previous Three Gorges relief funds.