Three Gorges Probe

Beijing resident sues the Ministry of Finance, requiring the disclosure of the Three Gorges dam cost

(January 26, 2010) Last year, Ren XingHui, a citizen of Beijing, submitted an application to the Ministry of Finance for the public disclosure of the Three Gorges dam cost but was rejected. Yesterday, he filed a law suit against the Ministry of Finance in Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court. The No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court is reviewing and considering whether to accept the case.

According to Ren XingHui, in order to raise funds to build the Three Gorges dam project in the early 1990s, the Ministry of Finance, together with other government departments, ordered that an additional charge of 0.003 RMB per kilowatt-hour be collected from all national electric power users, except in places like Tibet. That charge, which went into the Three Gorges Construction Fund, was later increased to 0.004 nationwide and then to 0.007 RMB per kilowatt-hour in economically developed areas. “It is not just me, but all residents in Beijing are still paying this fee which is included in our power bills.”

Last October, Ren XingHui submitted an application to the Ministry of Finance for the public disclosure of the Three Gorges project cost. The Ministry responded that the income and expenditure of the dam project in the year 2008 had been made public already and that no other information would be provided because the information did not affect Ren XingHui, his own production, domestic, or research activities. Under such circumstances, Ren XingHui submitted another application for administrative reconsideration to the Ministry of Finance, but the Ministry decided to throw the case out.

According to his calculations, says Ren XingHui, the Three Gorges Project Construction Fund accounts for more than half the total budget of the construction of the Three Gorges project. As the national financial authority, the Ministry of Finance is in charge of the revenue and expenditure management for the Three Gorges project. Therefore, the Ministry should not only reveal the financial data for the construction of the Three Gorges project for 2008, but make other years’ data on the project’s revenue and expenditure public too.

Ren XingHui said that he has not only paid electricity bills but contributed to the Three Gorges Project Construction Fund, so the way the Fund has been used is directly relevant to him, and the Ministry of Finance should ensure his right to have access to the data.

Ren XingHui requests that the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court decree that the Ministry of Finance provide the data on the cost of the Three Gorges to him.

As for the law suit, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court is reviewing whether to accept the case.

Wang Dianxue, New Beijing News (Xin Jingbao), January 26, 2010

Translated by Probe International

Further Reading:

Rule of law meets the Three Gorges dam

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