The creation of China’s Three Gorges Dam buried the past and overturned the lives of millions. Tracking these changes across the years: one of the country’s greatest photographers.
A photographer captures 30 decades of life in upheaval for Three Gorges migrants and one moment, in particular, that stirred an entire nation.
(October 15, 2012) Lauded by Chinese officialdom as a symbol of its growing might, the Three Gorges Dam had already been in operation for eight years when the Three Gorges Corporation issued its first-ever corporate social responsibility report. The release of the CSR report coincided with a wave of heightened concern surrounding the dam’s failings and impacts, and a rare admission by China’s State Council that all was not well with the jewel in its crown of modernity. A commentary by Li Tie at the time, published by China’s respected South Weekend, described the Corporation’s document as awash in insipid content” and exactly not what the public needed, which was honesty. Li even went so far as to say reports that did not respond honestly to widespread concerns, in effect, posed a threat to the nation’s social stability, leaving Chinese citizens more likely to place their faith in the country’s rumor mill than official documents they could not trust. Li’s misgivings appear to have only gained in resonance this year, as China’s recent summer of protest bears out.
[This is the second part of an article that first appeared in the journal China Rights Forum, published by Human Rights in China. See also Reservoirs of repression: Part One]
No one asked the migrants