Three Gorges Probe
July 9, 1998
Three Gorges Probe to Track Ongoing Conflict As World’s Largest Dam Is Built
Probe International is today launching the first bilingual Internet information news service about China’s Three Gorges dam, the world’s largest hydro-electric project. Although already under construction, debate about the controversial dam on China’s Yangtze river continues. Technical problems, such as rapidly accumulating silt and a weaker-than-expected rock foundation, have already slowed construction. Meanwhile popular resistance to the massive resettlement of nearly 2 million people is threatening to provoke conflict between the state and the affected public.
"Three Gorges Probe," a free Internet-distributed service, will report on developments at the dam site, internal debates over whether the dam should be finished, controversy over international financial and corporate support for the project, and foreign and local opposition to the dam.
In China, news and reports about the project are strictly censored by the Chinese government, but the first issue of "Three Gorges Probe" reports that there are signs China’s top leadership may be subtly changing its position on the dam. There is a revival of dissident voices on the project in the Chinese media, within the government, and amid a burgeoning environmental movement in urban centres.
Patricia Adams, Executive Director of Probe International, and publisher of "Three Gorges Probe," says that with the help of Internet technology and communication, the Chinese population will have better access to information concerning their environment and daily lives. "No other project in the world will affect more people or have a more profound effect on their environment and their economy. The people of China have a right to debate the future of this dam. We hope ‘The Gorges Probe’ will help them do that."
The first issue of "Three Gorges Probe" includes stories about looting of archaeological treasures from the dam site, vegetation species that will become extinct if the dam is completed, and falsification of details of the resettlement operation.
"Three Gorges Probe" will be produced monthly. The next issue will report on why Three Gorges’ electric power can’t compete with cheaper alternatives and why it won’t relieve China’s greenhouse gas emissions problem.
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