(September 30, 2011) A massive forced relocation is underway in Shaanxi, China. Three million residents – double the number displaced by the Three Gorges Dam – will be moved from mountains and farming villages which the government has labeled as ‘unsafe’, reports Kathleen E. McLaughlin for the GlobalPost. While earthquakes have become more frequent in the area, the relocation is also related to the South-North Water Diversion project: small dams and water treatment plants are under construction in the area, and there are signs everywhere urging villagers to “send clean water to Beijing.” In a move that is sure to provoke resistance, migrants are not receiving full compensation for their lost homes. Instead, they’re only given about 10% of the cost – and forced to make up the rest by taking out government loans.
Read an excerpt below, followed by links to the full article.
China’s biggest relocation project yet
by Kathleen E. McLaughlin
For GlobalPost, August 29, 2011
ANKANG, China — A decade from now, the quiet mountains and farm villages across this vast ribbon of central China will be modern towns and cities.
Farmers will be urbanites, and the region’s main river will be cleaned up and channeled toward Beijing. That is, if all goes according to plan.
There are many variables standing in the way — namely people, and China’s largest-ever forced relocation project.
In order to transform this stretch of the Qinling mountains prone to earthquakes and landslides to a safe urban zone, and to channel the river north, the Shaanxi provincial government will move more than 2.5 million people off the rivers and mountains. In the north of the province, another half-a-million people are slated for relocation.
That 3 million is twice the number of people resettled to make way for the world’s largest dam, at the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River.
Shaanxi’s relocation plan, tied in part to China’s massive South-North Water Diversion Project, will change the geographic heart of the country. The Han River, which runs through these mountains, is a key tributary of the Yangtze. It’s one of three channels being diverted to deliver trillion of gallons of water per year north.