Three Gorges Probe

Corruption impacts China’s Three Gorges resettlement

(March 13, 2006) Probe International’s Dai Qing says it is never too late to stop construction of the Three Gorges dam. Yet dam construction is proceeding on schedule as Three Gorges migrants, without money or jobs, continue to resist resettlement.

China is undertaking construction of the giant Three Gorges dam, which will submerge more than a hundred towns along the Yangzi River by the time it is completed in 2009. The government is resettling 1.3 million people from areas to be flooded. Corruption has impacted plans for a smooth resettlement.

Yunyang county lies on the banks of the Yangzi River, right in the middle of what will become a 600-kilometer-long reservoir, once the Three Gorges Dam is finished. So everyone living below the 175-meter cut-off point for the project has to move to higher ground. But hundreds of villagers here are angry that the money they were supposed to receive for resettlement has been siphoned off by corrupt officials. So they chose 33-year-old Li Weidong to travel to Beijing to seek help on their behalf.

Mr. Li says he met with Three Gorges resettlement officials there, and was assured that they would investigate the corruption in his village. When he returned home, he says, he was threatened. But I won’t stop, he says. I’ve been elected by many people to speak out for them. After repeated warnings from local authorities, Mr. Li was attacked. He still bears scars from half-a-dozen knife wounds all over his body. Yet despite his ordeal, Mr. Li has faith that an official from Beijing will come to his town and take care of everyone’s problems. He says, “When we have a meeting with the government, I’ll ask, is it the people who are wrong? Or is it the corrupt organizations? We must get an answer.”

VOA News, March 13, 2006

Categories: Three Gorges Probe

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