Three Gorges Probe

Three Gorges Probe covers the social, environmental, scientific, and economic impacts of big dams and other large-scale water projects in China, as well as alternatives to such schemes.

Launched in 1998, Three Gorges Probe is a bilingual website and electronic news service that provides uncensored coverage of the Three Gorges dam — the world’s biggest dam. Three Gorges Probe has broken major stories on the endemic corruption, human-rights abuses and technical flaws associated with the dam, and produced a detailed energy analysis showing the economic inefficiency of Three Gorges power.

Projects such as Three Gorges can be built only in the absence of good information about their real costs and benefits, and in the absence of an informed public debate and the rule of law.


Our involvement with the Three Gorges dam in China stretches spans over two decades. In 1989, Canadian engineers produced a feasibility study for the dam and recommended that the project “be carried out at an early date.” Pro-dam members of the Chinese leadership then silenced debate within China about the wisdom of building the dam, and pushed the project through the National People’s Congress in 1992.

Probe used Canada’s Access to Information laws to obtain the feasibility study, and organized and published a scathing peer reviewed critique of it by internationally respected experts in Damming the Three Gorges: What Dam Builders Don’t Want You to Know (Probe International / Earthscan Publications, 1990 and 1993).

Probe subsequently published English translations of two collections of essays on the Three Gorges project written by eminent Chinese scholars, compiled by crusading journalist Dai Qing, and banned in China: Yangtze! Yangtze! (Probe International / Earthscan Publications, 1994) and The River Dragon Has Come! (M. E. Sharpe, 1998). These books have become seminal texts in the literature on the Three Gorges project.

Today, Three Gorges Probe has expanded its coverage to include all big dams and large-scale water projects in China, the restructuring of China’s power sector, appeals by China’s scientific and environmental experts to scale back China’s dam building in earthquake prone areas, first-hand accounts by citizens who bear the brunt of lost land and livelihoods and harsh repression, and the extraordinary coverage by China’s intrepid and increasingly outspoken press who dare to print the truth rather than propaganda.

Three Gorges Probe stories may be reproduced freely, although we do ask that you credit Three Gorges Probe and send us the relevant clippings or Web site addresses.

Three Gorges Probe welcomes submissions. To submit an article or for press comment, please e-mail

Three Gorges Probe is available in both English and Chinese.

To subscribe or unsubscribe to Three Gorges Probe news service, please Contact Us.

Latest News

Photo Gallery



Yangtze Floods and Drought

China’s Dams

China Energy Industry

Yangtze Power

China “Going Out”

China Rule of Law

Dai Qing