Geologists predict more frequent catastrophes in China’s Three Gorges Dam region, after landslides wipe out a hydropower plant. Fan Xiao and Yang Yong, the authors of several reports for Probe International, speak to thethirdpole.net about a disaster-prone region made more perilous by intensive hydropower development and call for new risk assessments to be carried out.
Yunnan earthquake linked to dam-building, says Chinese geologist
The 6.5-magnitude earthquake that devastated southwestern China’s Yunnan Province on August 3 and killed nearly 600 is linked to the world’s largest and most intensive dam-building scheme on the Jinsha River, says renowned, independent geologist-explorer, Yang Yong.
In Wenchuan, geological risks continue
Three years after the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake, geologist Yang Yong investigates the proliferation of hastily approved mining and industry projects putting the area at risk of further geological disasters.
Chapter 7: The conflict heats up
(May 3, 2009) On October 28, 1984, the head of Shanyang township, Yang Yongquan, was riding his bike over the bridge leading to the Dahe station when his way was suddenly blocked by a man in his 60s.
Hydropower development on the lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River is an illegal project
China’s new Five-Year plan (2021-2025) has given the green light to build dams on the lower reaches of Yarlung Zangbo, the upper stream of the Brahmaputra River in Tibet before it flows […]
Three Gorges Group will not stop building hydro dams in Nepal
Projects are strong enough to withstand a rare “thousand year” earthquake, say China Three Gorges Corporation officials: “no need to worry”. Experts beg to differ.
Harsher laws will not curb incentives to pollute
Chinese environmentalists explain why the incentives that work in favour of pollution, rather than its prevention, will remain, despite new legal powers. Radio Free Asia reports.
The hanging Jinsha River and earthquakes
Beijing-based media group, Caixin, reports on Chinese geologist Fan Xiao’s research supporting a link between a 6.5-magnitude earthquake in China’s Yunnan Province in early August and the filling of dam reservoirs in the area. Several Probe International studies are cited.
China quake reignites debate on country’s rush to build large dams
“Why do earthquakes keep happening in that area?” In the wake of China’s 6.1 magnitude quake in Yunnan Province and a number of smaller quakes in the region, questions are once again being asked about the country’s rush to build big dams in its southwestern mountains, an area already vulnerable to seismic hazard.
China is so bad at conservation that it had to launch the most impressive water-pipeline project ever
(March 17, 2014) Reporter Lily Kuo takes an in-depth look at China’s South-to-North Water Diversion project — the world’s largest water diversion conceived originally by Mao Zedong as a way to relieve North China’s dwindling water resources by “borrowing” from the south of the country. But not even the project’s leaders are pretending the mammoth, ultra-complex, $80-billion scheme will solve China’s water problem. Moreover, it has already created extra problems. Kuo concludes the project is another example of an engineer-dominated government’s fondness for huge-scale vanity projects with a particular weakness for mega-water works. No wonder. Without the man-made institutions — a robust regulatory regime and the rule of law — the Chinese government is bereft of tools to induce the efficient use (and conservation) of water. And so it builds canals and moves water from one watershed to another, creating havoc and perpetuating the problem of China’s crippling water crisis.
Tainted meal staple highlights lack of law enforcement
(May 29, 2013) Public pressure for transparency over pollution concerns has compelled authorities in China’s southern province of Guangdong to name the producers of rice tainted with cadmium, reports say.
Chinese media investigates dam link to latest earthquake
(April 22, 2013) China’s “First Financial Daily” investigates the hazards of reservoir-induced seismicity in the wake of the magnitude-7 Lushan earthquake.
Residents struggle in China’s “model community” as millions set to be resettled
(January 22, 2013) China’s largest-ever forced relocation effort, in the northwestern gateway province of Shaanxi, is set to transform the lives of more than 2.8 million people over a period of 10 years. The massive migration, even by China’s standards, is currently underway in part to make way for another of the country’s vast infrastructure projects, the enormous south-north water transfer scheme; in part due to environmental degradation – geological instability caused by deforestation, and in part as a result of socioeconomic inevitability – a formidable long-range political objective to urbanize impoverished, rural populations. Drawing on his conversations with migrants, writer Andrew Stokols in this update for Chinadialogue.net, observes the human cost of China’s quest for modernity which has left many migrants struggling to meet new expenses and feeling stung by a loss of independence, purpose and stability.
New wave of Three Gorges-sized dams raise old fears
(July 6, 2012) Experts fear a proposed dam cascade slated for the Jinsha River, a tributary of the upper Yangtze River, could spell disaster. Reports on dam construction in western China’s seismic hazard zones and the risks of over-damming, released by Probe International earlier this year, are highlighted.
(July 4, 2012) As the fierce struggle between China’s hydropower industry and environmental conservationists rages anew, what has become clear in the meanwhile: the country’s rivers cannot sustain the current pace of development.