Three Gorges – research II

The Physicality of The Dam

(CNN) — It is the virtual definition of a monumental project — a dam one and a half miles wide and more than 600 feet high that will create a reservoir hundreds of feet deep and nearly 400 miles long.

The Losses  of Cultural/Natural Heritage

The Yangzi River is home to some of China’s most spectacular natural scenery, a series of canyons known as the Three Gorges – By Bruce Kennedy, CNN Interactive

Beishan sculptures

Baoding Shan

‘Revolving Wheel’, ‘Tantric Buddhist’, ‘Thousand Arms Guanyin’,

Dabo Wan

Pg. 279

Zhao Zhifeng’s creation was a brilliant stroke of proselytization: the message of some of the stories – in-stone whether it is retribution for unfilial acts or the evils of drink, would have been quite explicit to all manner of believers.

Pg. 309

Although some description and background is retained for historical interest, bear in mind that most of these town are in process of being completely or at least partially submerged by the new dam.

– Judy Bonavia, Richard Hayman, Yangzi

those include, Fuling, Fengdu (City of Ghost. Temple ‘God of the Underworld.” Some of whom were said to be able to walk zombielike to Fengdu for their judgment and rebirth – the area will be completely submerged between 2007 and 2009), Zhong Xian, Shi Bao Zhai, Wan Xian (of the three major regions affected by the proposed Three Gorges Dam, Yichang, Wanxian, and Chongqing, Wan Xian loses the most), Yun Yang, Fangjie (sadly much of the old town has had to be demolished in preparation for the rise in water level.)

Human Rights Violation

Restraint on Free Speech:

Non-governmental criticism of the project also has surfaced. Journalist Dai Qing was jailed for 10 months in 1989-90 after criticizing the Three Gorges project and, by extension, Li Peng, the former Chinese premier and Soviet-trained engineer who spearheaded the dam’s construction. – CNN

Environmental Catastrophe

CNN: The hidden costs of the dam are only now beginning to emerge. Blocking the river flow has changed the ecosystem of the Yangtze to a degree that rare river species of dolphin and sturgeon are now facing extinction. The commercial fisheries in the Yangtze and off the river’s mouth in the East China Sea have declined sharply. Other disastrous side effects have included the pollution of freshwater supplies, deadly landslides and an increased risk of earthquakes.

“It is quasi-science to believe that hydropower equals green energy,” says Zheng Yisheng, who researches environment and development at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “You can’t see rivers just as a source of energy and choose to ignore their ecological function as eco-systems. People need energy but they need a place to live too.”

Of further concern are claims the dam might become an environmental disaster. There have been little to no attempts made toward removing accumulations of toxic materials and other potential pollutants from industrial sites that will be inundated. Experts say such materials could leach into the reservoir, creating a health hazard. The relative lack of waste treatment plants in China also could mean run-off from communities around the dam would most likely go untreated directly into the reservoir and into the Yangzi.

“By severing the mighty river and slowing the flow of its water, the dam will cause pollution from industrial and residential sources to concentrate in the river, rather than be flushed out at sea,” writes Chinese journalist Jin Hui in “The River Dragon Has Come!” a recently published collection of criticisms against the dam. “The result will be a poisoned river.”

There are also claims that the dam will actually contribute to the silt accumulation in the Yangzi, rather than allow larger ships to travel the river.

And others dispute whether the electricity generated by the dam will be efficiently used.

Becoming A Global  Threat

More than 100 dams are being planned for the middle and upper reaches of the Yangtze River. What is more, China is actively seeking to export its Three Gorges expertise abroad, signing up agreements to build hydropower works in countries from Cambodia to Pakistan and Nigeria.

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