Three Gorges Probe

Foreword 2nd Edition

by Dai Qing

Damming The Three Gorges is to have a second edition. It comes at a time when Probe International of Canada has won its case at the International Water Tribunal in Amsterdam against the Three Gorges Dam Project of China and the James Bay Hydroelectric Project of Canada. It comes at a time when the International Coalition Against the Three Gorges Dam has been established. It is also the time when the green movement has received increased understanding and support around the world because the dismantling of communist systems in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union has led to a deeper understanding of humanity and its relationship with nature.

At the same time, work at the Three Gorges site has begun. Having used all available resources and tricks to have the project officially rubber-stamped by the National People’s Congress of China in April, 1992, the determined pro-dam leaders – who continue trying to persuade the opposing and undecided groups within the government – wasted no time in starting the preparatory work for the project. At the dam site, roads are being paved, transmission lines are being set up, and villagers are being moved.

Is the world’s largest dam going to be built soon? Can we let these leaders, motivated by self-aggrandisement at the expense of the environment and human lives, get away with it? People who care about China and about the Earth are asking: “What can we do now?”

What can we do? China is still under the control of totalitarian authorities. Decision-making processes in China are conducted in a secretive and unpredictable fashion. Corrupt communist officials from the top rank to the lowest level are now mainly concerned with how to accumulate their own wealth. Ordinary Chinese people are denied a right to air their opinions on public affairs, even when those affairs affect their livelihoods.

Perhaps there is something we can do. We can express our love for the long history and scenic beauty of the Yangtze River which has cradled the Chinese civilization; we can demand that the inherited right to livelihood of the people of the Yangtze – who depend upon and are nurtured by the riches of the river – be restored and respected; we can point out the catastrophic consequences that will result from the abuse of power and the inherent shortcomings of the authoritarian political system; we can tell the people that the natural environment upon which they have depended for generations is under a severe threat, and that those who want to build the megadam are not superior to nature.

We are expressing these thoughts – in our land and to our own people – under great pressure. However, on the other side of the world, there are people fighting to stop the dam. They are the editors, writers and specialists who composed this book. They are not Chinese, their daily lives will not be directly affected by the building of the Three Gorges Dam. However, they stand up to disclose what is behind the dam. They demonstrate the perilous consequences of unrestrained human ambition; they unveil the lies behind the beautiful promises. They have neither money nor guns. They fight with their wisdom, conscience and sense of responsibility. They demonstrate not the power politics that seems to be the evil force dominating the world, but an admiration of nature and a love for mankind.

Thank you for what you have done for the Yangtze River and China. Thank you on behalf of the people who have been deceived, deprived, and denied a right to appeal.

Dai Qing
Beijing, China
October, 1992

Categories: Three Gorges Probe

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