Tag Archive for 'dams in China'

China risks civil strife with support for foreign dams: activists

“Chinese support for controversial dam-building schemes around the world risks a backlash from affected communities and even violence due to a lack of transparency and the ignoring of residents’ wishes, activists said on Wednesday.

“Chinese companies and banks are becoming deeply involved in such projects in Africa and Asia, and despite a growing awareness they have to be more transparent and accountable, this frequently does not happen, the activists said.

“”We are dismayed to see a reckless role of many companies,” Peter Bosshard, policy director of California-based International Rivers, told the Foreign Correspondents Club of China.

“”There is still often a complete lack of transparency and consultation, particularly with civil society groups in the host countries,” he added.

“Beijing says that Chinese companies operating abroad have to comply with relevant national laws and that they must respect people there and the environment.

“Rights groups say this frequently does not happen.

“In Myanmar, Chinese companies are building or funding some particularly divisive dam schemes, Bosshard said.

“”If such huge infrastructure projects go forward, the (Myanmar) army takes over and occupies the villages,” he said.

“”There’s no question that the indigenous populations are very unhappy with these projects which they see as an extension of military rule in Burma, and that this will lead to serious conflict.”"

Read more: Reuter

Dammed if they do: China’s hydropower plans are a test of its avowed good neighbourliness

Retrieved from: The Economist

“To the engineers who dominate China’s leadership, the rivers’ wildness must seem an impertinence. On the Mekong alone China has planned or built eight dams. In Xishuangbanna the new Jinghong dam has just started operating. Further up, Xiaowan dam will be finished by 2013. It will be the highest arch dam in the world, and China’s biggest hydropower project after the Three Gorges on the middle Yangzi. The reservoir behind it is already filling up.

“In general, scrutiny of China’s water projects is scant, and the government is in a hurry. It wants to add electricity-generating capacity, lest China’s breakneck growth be impeded. Giant hydropower companies, with impeccable political connections, add their own layer of secrecy. Risks attend those who question the lack of transparency. Perhaps 500,000 locals, mainly ethnic minorities, are being displaced and forcibly resettled. Those who protest are threatened with less compensation, if not jail.

“The Chinese press steers clear of dams with a barge-pole. Academics and NGO representatives who oppose the dam-building on social or environmental grounds do not want their names published. In private even academics in favour of hydropower development complain that nearly all relevant information, even the amount of rain that reaches them, is treated as a state secret. (Though, they add, at China’s meteorological and rivers bureaus, even state secrets can be imparted if the price is right.)”

“Until recently China was no less communicative towards downstream neighbours, who have seen a sharp drop in Mekong levels in recent years. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam complain that China neither consults nor informs them about what it is up to. For all that it preaches harmony and good neighbourliness, China comes across as a regional bully, with its foot on the Mekong’s throat. The Mekong basin is the greatest inland fishing region in the world. Distraught Thai, Laotian and Cambodian fisherman and farmers blame Chinese dams for killing off fish stocks, cutting irrigation and disrupting livelihoods. Recently a Bangkok Post editorial accused China of “Killing the Mekong”.

read more: The Economist