Three Gorges Probe

Villagers damned by Chinese corruption

by Mary-Anne Toy , The Age

May 19, 2007

From the front of his ramshackle video shop, Chen Zhi Yan has a front row view of China’s biggest engineering achievement since the Great Wall.

As construction trucks roar past the fence separating Mr Chen’s shop from the Three Gorges construction site at Sandouping — a restricted military zone open to tourists on a tightly-monitored basis — he can gaze out at the placid waters that cover his former village and the small restaurant he used to run.

For 14 years Mr Chen and thousands of other villagers displaced by the world’s largest hydro electric project have been engaged in a battle for compensation for their lost livelihoods and land, swept under 38 billion cubic metres of water for the good of the nation.

Unlike Mr Chen, not many have been resettled within sight of their nemesis, the 2.3-kilometre-long and 185-metre-high dam, but the Three Gorges still shadows the lives of thousands of farmers and others who lost their livelihood, were cheated of their compensation and are struggling to partake of the prosperity that China’s dizzying economic growth has delivered so unequally.

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Categories: Three Gorges Probe

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