- Shui de Changjiang: Fazhan zhong de Zhongguo neng fou chengdan sanxia gongcheng? 誰的長江 : 發展中的中國能否承擔三峽工程 (Whose Yangzi: Can a developing China afford to undertake the Three Gorges Dam project?) (review)
- China Review International
- University of Hawai'i Press
- Volume 4, Number 2, Fall 1997
- pp. 370-376
- View Citation
- Additional Information
370 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall 1997© 1997 by University ofHawai'i Press Dai Qing and Xue Weijia, editors. Shui de Changjiang: Fazhan zhong de Zhongguo nengfou chengdan sanxia gongcheng? lÊÔ^iiflC · #11FEKiF Stb^^Ä—|I$ŒÎ§!? (Whose Yangzi: Can a developing China afford to undertake the Three Gorges Dam project?). Hong Kong: Oxford University Press (China), Ltd., 1996. 271 pp. Paperback HK $90, isbn 0-19-587840-x. Shui de Changjiangis the sequel to the 1994 book Yangzi! Yangzi! Debate Over the Three Gorges Project (London and Toronto: Earthscan Publishers), also edited by Dai Qing and translated from its original 1989 Chinese edition. Divided into two parts, the latest book is a collection of twelve feature essays by knowledgeable experts who are opposed to the Three Gorges project, four interviews, and two commentary essays by Dai Qing, all questioning the wisdom for a developing China of undertaking this gigantic engineering project. With a big political push from the State Council, the project was approved in the spring of 1992 by the National People's Congress, and actual excavation of the base site at Sandouping ^.iff^p began in November 1994. This reviewer wrote a lengthy review of Yangzi! Yangzi! that was published in the Spring 1995 issue of China Review International, detailing among other things how the State Council had manipulated the NPC and drummed up votes in 1992 for the approval of the project. Thus the project had become a fait accompli (or "water over the dam," if you like) by the time the material for this new book was being gathered in 1994 and 1995. Nevertheless, the essayists and interviewees here fully expound their views on the following five area of concern: (1) the inevitable tremendous buildup of sediment in a reservoir of this size; (2) the huge problem ofmigratory resettlement of over 130 million people; (3) the loss ofrare cultural relics and archaeological/historical sites; (4) environmental pollution and the deterioration of quality oflife; and (5) the previous bitter experiences of failed or collapsed dam projects in China, especially that of the Sanmen Gorge dam on the Yellow River. The writers and interviewees offer their advice on ways to prevent or mitigate the project's unavoidable problems while construction (anticipated to take eighteen to twenty years) is still in the early stages. What follows is a brief examination of the five principal areas of concern. Upstream Sedimentation Three essays address die problem of sedimentation. The first is by the noted hydraulic engineer Lu Qinkan HÉ^OÏl titled "Sedimentation of the Three Gorges Project Urgendy Needs to be Tested by Simulation-model Studies" (pp. 13-19). Next is an interview with Huang Wanli jCillS, senior professor ofhydraulics Reviews 371 and water resources at Qinghua University and an authority on water dynamics (pp. 20-25). Both men were graduate students in the United States and both had refused to sign the majority report ofthe Team ofExperts who recommended approval of the project to the NPC. Their chiefconcern is the recommended and, by now, approved 175-meter height of the dam, which, they argue, will create a 600-kilometer-long water reservoir upstream, slowing down the river's rate of flow, resulting in a substantial buildup ofsediment (mud, sand, and pebbles) upstream , as ifthe reservoir had an upraised tail (shutku qiao weiba 7KMMMG), threatening navigation and clogging up Chongqing harbor. "This proposed 175 meters is much too high," they warn. Their view is fully elaborated in the third essay, by Wen Shanzhang ÌSmM^t, senior engineer of the Yellow River Water Resource Planning Office, titled "A Normal Reservoir Height For the Three Gorges Project: An Alternative Suggestion " (pp. 154-160). He very strongly urges lowering the dam's height to 160 meters while there is still time, within the first two years ofthe project's construction. He presents academic and technical reasons for the 160-meter height, apart from the fact that far too much fertile farmland upstream would be inundated and far too many people would have to be resettied if the 175-meter design is followed. "The cost to the upstream far exceeds benefit to the downstream," he predicts. Professor Huang Wanli's opposition is...