Paradise Lost at Tiger Leaping Gorge

A proposed dam at , a scenic spot that has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, has been met with fierce resistance from environmentalists and local residents. In response, the government has moved the dam to Longpan, 150 kilometers upriver on the Jinsha from the gorge. Inter Press Service reports:

The new site for Longpan dam is supposed to result in the displacement of less people – an estimated 20,000 mainly minority residents – than the original plan for the Tiger Leaping Gorge dam. Experts say the impact on forests and the ecological
diversity of the area would be equally severe. They suggest there are other potential solutions to the lack of water in central that could minimize the need for water diversion from the Jinsha.

“There has been an explosion of energy-intensive industries in the province in recent years, many of them transferred from the eastern coastal areas where both power and resources are being slowly depleted,” says Yang Yong. “One needs to treat the existing pollution first and keep the growth of polluting industries in check before green-lighting such (water diversion) projects”.

A stop at the ancient trading town of Shigu, where the Yangtze River makes its first bend, reveals that local residents are unhappy about their success in fighting the pending dam project. Authorities are wary of protests against the dam. Three police cars patrol the small market place and the steps to a grand monument dedicated to Red China’s Long March.

Read also “the tragedy of tiger leaping gorge” a 1997 essay by Simon Winchester in Salon. Also see CDT’s previous coverage of the dam.

Watch a tourist video introducing the Tiger Leaping Gorge:


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