Three Gorges Probe

Speech to the International Day of Action Against Dams and For Rivers Water and Life

Dai Qing

March 14, 1998



We all know that after learning and understanding more about the environment, the world’s leading dam builder , The United States, is no longer building dams. They are no longer destroying their own rivers and other rivers around the World. But after this announcement, why is it that Bank America has bought SDB bonds?

Bank of America, I say to you, maybe you don’t know that the middleman is providing funds to the Three Gorges Project. You may say that "China wants to build this and has borrowed from me". But I am here today to tell you that you don’t understand. In building the Three gorges project: Do you know how much of it comes from the motivation and will of the people and how much of it comes from the government and the companies? You may say that it has been approved through the National People’s Congress. But do you know that the Congress have received falsified information? And do you know how many were lured and forced into supporting this project? If this project is as good as promoters say, then why are all the government branches, the using all their weight to silence the criticism? Not only are books about the Three Gorges banned, but also the books from other countries outside of China about their own dams and their disasters. By buying SDB bonds, do you know who will receive benefits from this project? What you are supporting are the dictators who are not interested in the people, but are only interested in a milestone marker for their authoritarian careers. What you are helping are the officials who use the dam to gain favoritism and to get promotions. You are helping the big companies, who only think about their own money and pay no attention to the environment, people, or cultural heritage.

So when you think of buying more SDB bonds in 1998, do you think of the 1.9 million silenced people who can not express their sadness and speak against this project? Do you think of the lost cultural history and art and destruction of the natural river? As an investment bank, you might think that you’re pleasing the government by buying bonds and can in the future have an opportunity to do more business in China.

Or you have seen that Europe and Canada are doing the same for the project and that you might lose out on this opportunity. It’s not your American style. In my mind, I didn’t think Americans do things like that. Dictatorship in China is passing into history. Whether or not you have the contract now, in the end the market economy will provide the last opportunity, not the passing dictators.

As a Chinese citizen, as an informed person of the Three Gorges Dam project and as an opponent, I can only say that a good investment company should be a company that is responsible, compassionate and one that can look into the future. – Don’t use your money to destroy the environment. Don’t use your money to take advantage of farmers who depend on the river and send them into destitution. Help Chinese people in other ways, not with this project which supports dictatorial and corrupted officials.

Speech given at the Bank America Corporate Headquarters, 555 California Street, San Francisco

Categories: Three Gorges Probe

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