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Internal Documents Reveal Concerns Over Three Gorges Project

[China News Daily (CND); February 18, 2001.]

[CND, 02/18/01] Internal documents obtained by Canadian-based non-governmental organization, Probe International, showed that there are serious doubts and concerns over the flood control and electricity generation capabilities of the Three Gorges dam as claimed by the Chinese government, and that the Chinese government has attempted to cover and mislead the public about the project, the South China Morning Post reported on Saturday.

In letters obtained by the organization as part of an internal memo, Professor ZHANG Guangdao of Qinghua University, the principal examiner of the Three Gorges project's feasibility report in the 1980, revealed that the flood control capability is smaller than what had been claimed and the electricity generation capability will be diminished in the summer. In addition, the cost of the electricity could be so high that no one could afford it.

Professor Zhang cited the failure of the massive World Bank-funded Ertan dam as an example.

Zhang also expressed his concern over the pollution control and environmental protection along the Yangtze river. He pointed out that current treatment facility would still leave 940 million cubic meters of industrial waste water discharged by Chongqing city untreated. An estimated total of US$37 billion is needed for environmental protection, according to Zhang.

The memo showed that the Yangtze Water Resources Commission also admitted that the flood control capability of the dam would be smaller than declared after being questioned by People's Political Consultative Conference Vice-Chairman QUAN Zhengying. "But keep in mind, never, ever let the public know this", the memo read. (LIN Shaoting, WU Yiyi)


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