Perspectives on the South-North Water Diversion

An overview in The Los Angeles Times of the colossal South-North Water Diversion includes a variety of perspectives on the project:

“This is on a par with the Great Wall, a project essential for the survival of China,” said Wang Shushan, who heads the project in Henan province, where much of the construction is now taking place. “It is a must-do project. We can’t afford to wait ….”

“It is a little like building the tunnel under the English Channel to connect France and England – except we’re moving water, not vehicles,” said Yang Sheya, 38, an engineering supervisor working on the underground aqueduct along the banks of the Yellow River, where it passes just north of Henan’s provincial capital, Zhengzhou.

“They are robbing the water of the rest of China to supply Beijing – and it probably won’t work anyway,” said Dai Qing, a pro-democracy activist who was imprisoned during the run-up to the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and who now focuses on water issues ….

Beijing, Dai said, should never have been developed as a major economic and industrial hub.

“We’ve been saying this for years: Beijing was just the political and cultural capital of China, and if the population were kept under 6 million, we wouldn’t have this problem,” she said. “But now there are too many vested political and real estate interests.”

“We have given up everything for the greater good of the country, but the party has been good to us too,” said Yao Ziliang, 74, sitting on the curb in front of the community center with many of the other old men. He said he was confident that the water diversion project would be a success.

“Of course it will bring water to Beijing,” he said. “The party would not lie to us.”


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