Chinese Authorities Admit Issues with Three Gorges Dam
On September 25, a meeting was held in Wuhan City, Hubei Province in which senior officials and experts discussed ecological and environmental construction and protection in the Three Gorges Dam Project. Experts said there are many preexisting as well as new ecological and environmental issues caused by the Three Gorges Project. Disaster could develop if immediate action isn't taken, they said.
Wang Weiluo, a renowned hydro-scientist and Zheng Yi, a famous writer, accepted an interview with The Epoch Times on September 28. They said Chinese authorities only partially admit the issues, which already suggests the situation of the Three Gorges Dam has become very serious and the authorities won't be able to cover it up. The reason that some officials and experts reveal such issues is that they are afraid they'll have to take responsibility in the future.
They also pointed out that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities did not mention the issues such as shipping traffic, sand and gravel sedimentation, ecological damage, migrants' livelihoods, and the potential flooding of Chongqing City, one of the largest cities in China. They believe he CCP avoids the most important issues, though it sees how serious the problems are. In this way, it can abdicate responsibility and protect itself in the future.
Authorities Not Able to Conceal Issues of The Three Gorges Dam
Wang said, “The CCP only partially mentions the issues, which means the issues are very serious and have to be reported. In fact, the CCP regime and some experts in mainland China have already been aware of these issues, but they have been deceiving people. Now, they can neither cover-up nor find the solution. The final solution, according to Professor Huang Wanli, who was categorized as a right-wing activist because of his strong opposition to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, would be to explode the dams into pieces.
He said, “From the CCP's media report, I have not seen them truly admit the seriousness of this project and they don't criticize the project. Attitudes toward the authorities' news and their principle trends are still positive of the project. First of all, they emphasize that the Three Gorges Dam indicates achievements, then they mention the topic of ecological protection.”
Officials Try to Avoid Responsibility
Wang Weiluo thinks some officials and experts reveal the issues in order to clear themselves of responsibility in the future.
Zheng Yi said the officials are afraid that some disasters may occur and they will become scapegoats. This is a typical way for officials to protect themselves and clear themselves of responsibility. They realize how serious the issues are and expect something to happen. So, they reveal some clues and speak out beforehand. If in the future they have to face the issues, they can say, “We warned you a long time ago, and this is not our responsibility.”
Zheng said, “They haven't mentioned the real problems. They avoid the seriousness while touching upon the lightest issues. This is a cunning trick to clear themselves. The CCP is known for doing this. First it mentions a big “success,” and then presents some shortcomings, so they have some leeway to back up. This proves they are very weak.”
Serious Water Pollution and Huge Economic Loss
Wang Weiluo said the CCP mentioned that the quality of the water has degraded; however, it downplays the seriousness of the pollution. It didn't mention the economic loss.
He said since water is stored in the reservoir, the flow of the water is slower and its self-cleaning ability decreases. Pollution is increasing so the water quality is decreasing. If it keeps developing like this, the reservoir will become a huge polluted pool and will harm the health of 31 million residents near the dam area. The authorities have already invested 40 billion yuan (US $ 5.5 billion) to solve this problem. Professor Zhang Guangdou said to solve the water pollution problem in the dam area will cost 300 billion yuan ($ 40 billion). When compared to the cost of building the dam, which is 200 billion yuan ($25 billion), where is the economic efficiency of this project?
Serious Issues of The Three Gorges: Sedimentation Hampers Shipping
Zheng Yi said that one of the more serious problems with the Three Gorges dam is sedimentation in Chongqing harbor, which hampers shipping. Once the water level reaches the designed 175 meters in the reservoir, the backwater will get to Chongqing. During the flooding season, the massive silt coming from upstream of the river will build up in Chongqing harbor and it will become a dead harbor. During the process of deliberation of the Three Gorges project, no solution was ever found to solve the problem of silt.
He said, “The sedimentation in the Three Gorges area is composed of not only silt but also pebbles and gravel. Once the Three Gorges Reservoir is built, the accumulation of the pebbles and gravel will increase the water level cause a flooding disaster upstream from Chongqing. This was the conclusion made by water conservancy expert Professor Huang Wanli from his on-site investigation. When Sanmenxia Reservoir was built up on the Yellow River years ago, he predicted that there would be sedimentation.”
Serious Landslides, Great Possibility of Prompting Violent Earthquake
Wang Weiluo said that the possibility of the Three Gorges Project causing an earthquake is very high. The main reason for this is that the dam retaining water will cause intense water pressure, and the water will penetrate into the cracks of the underlying bedrock and cause the sliding of the stratum and later an earthquake.
He said, “There were only 150 landslides upstream when the Three Gorges Project was first demonstrated but 1,200 landslides were found later when the Three Gorges Project was approved, an increase by nearly 10 times. The reason was that the new landslides caused by the rising water level were not considered during the initial demonstration. In order to control the landslides, the initial investment was 4 billion yuan ($ 550 million) and the supplementary investment was 120 billion ($ 25 billion). These investments were not included in the project budget. Since there is a great possibility of a massive earthquake caused by the reservoir and dam, the remedial measures that have been taken right now still cannot prevent the landslides caused by an earthquake over 6.5 degrees.”
Endangering the Lives and Property of Migrants
Wang Weiluo said that a more serious problem is the living issues of more than 100 million migrants because of the Three Gorges Project. This kind of massive migration and the hardships the migrants face during the migration in order to build a reservoir is so rare both in China and in foreign countries. It has just been discovered that the newest migrants will have to migrate again. The after-effects of migrating people are very serious and huge amount of money has continued to be used to solve the remaining problems.
He said, “It is very dangerous to settle the migrants in the outlying mountain area because geological conditions there are very unstable. In the area of a dozen counties around the reservoir, the easily cultivated land has all been reclaimed. If the migrants reclaim the land up on the hill in order to settle down, it will destroy the already depleted soil and water conditions, so the possibility of mudslides and landslides will increase dramatically. It has just been discovered that the newly built towns for the migrants are also in the landslides area, so the migrants have to migrate again. The Central government has invested 120 billion yuan for controlling the landslides and it is into the third period of controlling now. The longer the reservoir operates, the more landslides there'll be, and the control of the landslides has become a bottomless pit that can never be filled.”
He said, “The Chinese regime claims that they have set aside 500 billion yuan ($ 60 billion) for water pollution treatment, but no one knows where this huge amount of money has gone and, as a result, the government is also asking for a water pollution treatment fee from ordinary people. As for these corrupted officials, it is the best way for them to earn money from the building of the dam. During the years building the dam, officials have been found diverting project funds for other uses or into their own pockets.”
Wang Weiluo pointed out that there are no anti-earthquake facilities in the old or new buildings built for the residents living around the reservoir area. Should the dam or reservoir cause any earthquake, flood, rock collapse, landslide or mudslide, it will cause significant damage to people's lives and property. The consequences would be too ghastly to contemplate.