Beijing Water

Dissent slows China’s drive for massive dam projects

The Wall Street Journal
December 19, 2007

Criticism by Chinese citizens of the government’s relentless dam-building drive has emerged as one of the few legitimate subjects of public debate, slowing projects and testing the limits of the public’s role in shaping policy.

Local critics scuttle hydropower plants; the right to say ‘no,’ Andrew Batson reports (The Wall Street Journal)

Criticism by Chinese citizens of the government’s relentless dam-building drive has emerged as one of the few legitimate subjects of public debate, slowing projects and testing the limits of the public’s role in shaping policy. “Times have changed. Engineers need to raise their awareness of environmental protection,” Lu Youmei, the former head of the embattled Three Gorges dam project and now chairman of the Chinese National Committee on Large Dams, is quoted saying. The article traces recent efforts to stop dam projects in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. “The question isn’t whether a single project should go forward or not. The question is whether there is a transparent process to decide things that affect the public interest,” Tan Zuoren, a writer active in the opposition to the Baitiao project in Sichuan province. “We are training the government. Ordinary people have the right to say no.”

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