Dams and Landslides

Canada should aid Three Gorges dam victims

(October 1, 2008) As China’s Three Gorges dam nears completion, displaced people are still fighting for fair compensation. Canada, as the dam’s lead international financier, should stand up for the victims.

Operators at China’s Three Gorges dam are set to raise the reservoir to its final height of 175 metres despite scientists’ warnings that this would lead to more frequent landslides and earthquakes and choke the busy upstream port of Chongqing with sediment.This massive-scale dam has displaced more than one million people already and last year millions more were told to move out at their own expense. Resettlers who have dared to complain about unfair treatment or inadequate compensation have been beaten up and thrown in jail.

This is not just China’s shame. It’s Canada’s too.

Twenty years ago, our federal government and a taxpayer-funded group of engineering firms recommended the Three Gorges dam to international financiers as “socially and environmentally feasible,” ignoring warnings from experts that the dam would become what the Chinese leadership admitted last year: an environmental catastrophe.

So what can be done now as the dam nears completion? Plenty. Canada can stand up for the Three Gorges migrants who’ve lost everything to this dam and still have not received fair compensation. Please email our Prime Minister (and your elected representative) urging him to press our concerns with their Chinese counterparts and establish a legal aid fund for the victims of Canada’s dam in China. And if you can, send us a copy of the Prime Minister’s response and we’ll post it online.

Three Gorges Probe, October 1, 2008

READ Probe International’s letters and the Canadian government’s response to date.

READ Absence of Justice by Liu Bai, the first in a series of oral histories from the Three Gorges region edited by Dai Qing.

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