What You Might Not Know About the Three Gorges Project

Non-profit environmental advocacy group PROBE International released the English translation of a lengthy and informative article written by Guo Yushan last year. Guo is director of the Transition Institute, an independent liberal-democratic think tank based in Beijing. The article, which originally appeared on NetEase in July, explains the history and power struggle that allowed the Three Gorges Dam project to get off the ground in the midst of a bounty of criticism:

The Three Gorges Dam is a massive water control project built on the upper reaches of China’s famed Yangtze River. The dam is located near what used to be the town of old Sandouping (since submerged by the project and rebuilt), in the middle section of Xiling Gorge – the longest and once most dangerous of the Three Gorges – close to the city of Yichang, the major transportation hub of China’s Hubei Province.

[…]Measured only by the number of people relocated, the Three Gorges Project is an unprecedented hydro-engineering project. But if one also considers the technological and environmental challenges, it is a massive dam of truly astonishing dimensions that has tested the powers of human imagination.

How did such an enormously difficult and controversial project like the Three Gorges Dam win such a deep commitment from so many people? The audacious inspiration behind the massive project belongs, in fact, to a few political figures from China’s past.

Also see previous CDT coverage of the the Three Gorges Dam and the controversy surrounding it.


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