Three Gorges Probe

Mao Yushi’s economic criticism of Three Gorges Dam

(June 20, 2011)  Economist Mao Yushi’s criticism of the Three Gorges Dam in Dai Qing’s 1988 Yangtze! Yangtze! proves accurate more than two decades later in the wake of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s acknowledgment of problems.

By Probe International

During the Cultural Revolution in 1958, Mao Yushi was labeled a leftist and sent to the Datong Locomotive factory to do hard labor. In 1975, he began his studies in Macroeconomics which led, in 1979, to a mathematical method of the Principle of Optimal Allocation. Mao Yushi has held positions at Harvard University and the Beijing Institute of Technology, he works as a consultant for Asia Development Bank, is a contributing editor at the China Economic Review, and runs a mini-credit foundation in Shanxi and a vocational training school for rural girls.

In 1988, Mao joined the ranks of experts condemning the construction of the Three Gorges dam. Mao claimed that the project made no economic sense and questioned the destruction of such a uniquely beautiful environment; “…when several hundred million kWh of electricity will be very easy to produce, or to replace by other energy resources, won’t we regret the irreplaceable loss of the scenic Gorges?”

Mao took his criticism a step further saying: “Personally, I believe that under the present system, it is very difficult to make good decisions. Having taken part in the decision-making process, I have discovered that decisions reflect the political hierarchy.”

Mao’s criticisms unheeded, the project has proved to be every bit as much trouble as he had predicted.  In a recent statement, Premier Wen Jiabao admitted problems with the Three Gorges reservoir and committed even more funding to alleviate the suffering of the displaced and drought-ridden. The project, a financial black hole, has failed to prevented flooding, generate electricity reliably, or facilitate shipping. And, as the recent drought downstream of the dam shows, it has held back the vital waters of the Yangtze which once sustained millions of people downstream.

Read Mao Yushi’s criticism of the Three Gorges dam here.

Read The Economist article “Choking on the Three Gorges” here.

Mao Yushi speaks out about the real cost of Chinese coal mining on health and the environment in “Pollution concealed by Beijing.” Read more here.

Mao Yushi joins other experts in writing an open letter calling for the Chinese government to reveal its secret plans to dam the Nu River. Read the article here. Read the open letter here.

Further Reading:

Read Yangtze! Yangtze! by Dai Qing here.

Read the original Chinese version of Yangtze! Yangtze! here.

Never silent on matters of abuse, Mao Yushi has recently written an essay critical of Mao Zedong. The criticism has evoked strong reactions from both sides of the political divide.

Read excerpts of Mao Yushi’s criticism of Mao Zedong in the China Media Project here.

Watch an NTDTV broadcast of the reaction to Mao Yushi’s criticism of Mao Zedong here.

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