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    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
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    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘River’ Category

Chinese Activist beaten for daring official to swim in polluted river

Posted by Author on February 27, 2013


A Chinese farmer who dared a local environment official to swim in his province’s polluted rivers has been badly beaten in an attack his family says was linked to his activism.

Chen Zuqian, from the township of Banqiao in Zhejiang province, was one of a number of farmers and business people who publicly offered money to government officials to swim in  rivers to highlight the sorry state of China’s waterways. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Activist, China, East China, Environment, People, pollution, River, Rural, Social, water, Zhejiang | Comments Off on Chinese Activist beaten for daring official to swim in polluted river

Greenpeace Says China Oil Spill 60 times larger than Officially Reported, after a 10-day on-site investigation

Posted by Author on July 30, 2010


VOA News, 30 July 2010 –

The environmental group Greenpeace says it believes an oil spill in northeastern China was up to 60 times larger than has been reported.

Richard Steiner, a marine conservation expert from the University of Alaska, announced the conclusion Friday after a 10-day on-site investigation.

Steiner estimates the July 16 explosion at an oil terminal in Dalian released 60,000 to 90,000 tons of crude oil into the South China Sea, making it larger than the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.  Official estimates have said only 1,500 tons of crude were spilled.

The explosion ruptured two pipelines and ignited a fire that raged for 15 hours. Greenpeace said Chinese workers told the group they deliberately released additional oil into the sea to contain the fire and reduce the risk that a nearby tank of dimethylbenzene would explode.

Steiner said at a Beijing news conference that the explosion and fire completely destroyed one oil tank with a capacity of 90,000 tons. He said Greenpeace was told that the tank had been filled shortly before the blast.

He said a spill of that size would rank among the 30 largest ever recorded.

The oil spill expert, engaged as a consultant by Greenpeace, said Chinese crews have already recovered more than 1,500 tons of oil – the amount officially said to have been spilled.

Reuters news agency contacted PetroChina on Friday but said officials of the company, which operates the oil storage facilities at Dalian, could not confirm or deny the Greenpeace findings.

VOA News

Posted in China, Dalian, disaster, Environment, Liaoning, NE China, News, pollution, River, World | 2 Comments »

Northeast China town: Flooding traps 30,000, washed 1,000 barrels of explosive chemicals into a river

Posted by Author on July 28, 2010


BBC News, July 28, 2010 –

Flooding in northeastern China has stranded 30,000 people in one town and washed 1,000 barrels of explosive chemicals into a river, reports say.

In Kouqian town in Jilin province, residents were trapped when a reservoir and two rivers overflowed following torrential rain.

In Jilin city itself, containers of explosive fluid from a chemical plant were washed into the Songhua river.

China is facing its worst flooding in more than a decade.

Weeks of heavy rain have swollen rivers and caused damage, landslides and bridge collapses across a swathe of the country.

According to state media, 928 people have died because of the seasonal bad weather and another 477 are missing.

More than 200 rescue workers have been sent to Kouqian, where tens of thousands of residents are reportedly trapped after the Xingshan reservoir and the Wende and Songhua rivers burst their banks.

Chinese media reports said houses and buildings were under water, and 80 people were trapped in a train station surrounded by water.

In Jilin city, emergency teams were trying to recover barrels of explosive chemicals washed into the river.

Environmental officials were said to be monitoring the water quality in the river.

Further to the south, in Wuhan city in Hubei province, workers were sandbagging river banks ahead of possible flooding where the Yangtze and Han rivers converge…….(More details from BBC News)

Posted in China, disaster, Environment, Flood, Jilin, Life, NE China, News, pollution, River, World | Comments Off on Northeast China town: Flooding traps 30,000, washed 1,000 barrels of explosive chemicals into a river

China’s Massive Dam Proposed in Tibet Yarlung Tsangpo River Could Spark Water Supply Conflict in Downstream Nations

Posted by Author on May 25, 2010


Jonathan Watts, Asia environment correspondent, guardian.co.uk, 24 May 2010 –

Chinese hydropower lobbyists are calling for construction of the world’s biggest hydro-electric project on the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra river as part of a huge expansion of renewable power in the Himalayas.

Zhang Boting, the deputy general secretary of the China Society for Hydropower Engineering, told the Guardian that a massive dam on the great bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo – the Tibetan name for the river – would benefit the world, despite the likely concerns of downstream nations, India and Bangladesh, which access water and power from the river.

Zhang said research had been carried out on the project, but no plan has been drawn up. But documents on the website of a government agency suggest a 38 gigawatt hydropower plant is under consideration that would be more than half as big again as the Three Gorges dam, with a capacity nearly half as large as the UK’s national grid.

“This dam could save 200m tonnes of carbon each year. We should not waste the opportunity of the biggest carbon emission reduction project. For the sake of the entire world, all the water resources than can be developed should be developed.” That CO2 saving would be over a third of the UK’s entire emissions.

The mega-facility is among more than 28 dams on the river that are either planned, completed or under discussion by China, according to Tashi Tsering, a Tibetan scholar of environmental policy at the University of British Columbia……. (more details from The Guardian)

Posted in Asia, China, dam, Energy, Environment, Life, News, River, Technology, World | Comments Off on China’s Massive Dam Proposed in Tibet Yarlung Tsangpo River Could Spark Water Supply Conflict in Downstream Nations

China dam plans raise Mekong fears

Posted by Author on April 1, 2010


By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing and Tim Johnston in Bangkok, The Financial Times, Apr. 1, 2010-

China will ramp up construction of dams, reservoirs and wells in response to a severe drought in the country’s south-west, but the move is likely to raise tensions with downstream countries, which have already blamed reduced river flows on Beijing.

Most of south-west China has been affected by the drought, which began in November and has left more than 24m people without adequate access to drinking water. Downstream in Thailand, cargo boats have been stranded along the banks of the Mekong, which is at its lowest level in half a century, while fishermen complain of empty nets.

Beijing has launched emergency drought relief operations involving 260,000 soldiers and officials yesterday said this force had drilled 18,000 wells, built 4,307 emergency water diversion works and laid 20,000 kilometres of pipeline.

“We must prepare ourselves to fight a long war against this severe drought,” said Liu Ning, secretary-general of China’s State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters. “With so many government departments working in synergy, we will surely triumph in our battle,” he said, while forecasting the drought would last until mid-May.

The south-western province of Yunnan, which has been hit hardest by the drought, has allocated Rmb27bn ($4bn, €2.9bn, £2.6bn) to build reservoirs and dams, officials said.

China’s water management policies have come in for criticism from the countries of the Mekong basin, where 60m people are directly or indirectly dependent on the river.

“We can see the level of the water is getting lower,” Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Thai prime minister, said this month. “We will ask the foreign ministry to talk with a representative from China in terms of co-operation and in terms of management systems in the region.”

The Mekong River Commission, which includes Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, will meet this weekend to discuss the water shortage and future developments along the river……. (Financial Times)

Posted in Asia, China, dam, Environment, Life, Mekong, News, River, SW China, World, Yunnan | Comments Off on China dam plans raise Mekong fears

Oil Spill From Broken Pipeline Threatens China’s Yellow River

Posted by Author on January 4, 2010


NTDTV, Jan. 4, 2010-

39,000 gallons of diesel oil spilled into the Wei River last Wednesday.

The leak was from a pipeline owned by China National Petroleum Corporation in northwestern Shaanxi Province.

Concerns are high because the Wei River is a tributary of the Yellow River, a major source of water for millions of people.

According to state television reports, the Yellow River and other sources of water have not been contaminated by the spill.

But diesel has been found in water 20 miles from the leak, and residents have been warned against using any of the river water.

A preliminary investigation showed that the pipeline damage was caused by construction work by a third party.

China periodically faces spills into rivers that result in water supplies being cut off.

The most serious incident was in 2005 when an explosion at an industrial plant sent toxic chemicals streaming into the Songhua River. That forced the shutdown of water supplies to nearly four million people.

Run-off from heavy fertilizer use, industrial waste and untreated sewage also caused a foul-smelling algae bloom on a lake in Jiangsu Province in 2007 that left tap water undrinkable in a city of more than two million people.

NTDTV

Posted in China, Environment, News, NW China, pollution, River, Shaanxi, water, World | Comments Off on Oil Spill From Broken Pipeline Threatens China’s Yellow River

(Video) Dead Pigs Floating in River Ignored in South China

Posted by Author on May 1, 2009


NTDTV, Via Youtube, May 1, 2009-

While the whole world is in a panic over the threat of swine flu, hundreds of dead pigs are floating in a town river in Fujian Province, China. The stench, along with the possibility of a swine flu epidemic, is unnerving nearby residents. But local authorities are taking no action.

Many large and small sacks containing dead pigs are floating among the lotus plants and have blocked a river at the junction of Shouqi, Huangdun and Xingqiao Villages in Fuqing City, Fujian Province. Residents say some of the stinking sacks have sunk to the river bottom. According to residents, local authorities are ignoring the pigs. “Who cares, there are more over on that side. Over on that side of the bridge if you go and see, there are around 100 more sacks than what you see here.” The female resident has seen a car carrying sacks of both small and large pigs. The sacks were thrown directly from the bridge into the river. Residents of Shouqi Village say the dead pigs have been piling up for half a month. Residents say that even a local TV news report on the pigs did not alert local authorities.

– NTDTV via Youtube

Posted in China, Environment, Fujian, Health, Life, News, River, Social, South China, Video, World | Comments Off on (Video) Dead Pigs Floating in River Ignored in South China

China’s “cancer village”– Liu-kuai

Posted by Author on December 14, 2008


by Michael Anderson, SOH Radio Network, on Friday, December 12th, 2008 –

Industrial development and poor environmental protection has led to one village in Tianjin having a cancer rating 25 times higher than the national average. Liu-kuai is now dubbed China’s “cancer village”.

Liu-kuai village used to be a prosperous fishery and rice patty area about a decade ago, according to Chinese media. The village is now heavily concentrated with chemical industries, and there is now severe water and air pollution, barren lands and fishery decimation. The village is now plagued by cases of respiratory diseases and cancer.

In 2003, Liu-kuai villagers participated in a survey, and found that out of the 190 locals surveyed, 148 suffered from chronic headaches and nausea, and 39 suffered constant asthma, Tracheitis and other respiratory diseases. Since 1998, over 200 people have died from cancer there, the majority of them from lung cancer. The proportion of cancer sufferers in the village in the last10 years is 25 times higher than the Chinese national average, and there is almost one cancer patient to every family.

According to one local resident, they used to be able to drink straight from the river, and now they don’t even dare to drink well water. Water pumped up from hundreds of metres below ground level now comes up yellow with a strange smell. Many of the middle-aged women in the area have developed brain tumours from the severity of the pollution.

Over a hundred industrial chemical businesses are only a stones throw away from villager’s homes, and the waste water spouts they use are hidden below the water line. These businesses release waste water into the river day and night, severely affecting the health of local residents. The irony is that the government has cancelled medical benefits for rural people and these kinds of cases are becoming more and more common.

The above new is hosted by … for Inside China Today on the SOH Radio Network

Posted in China, Economy, Environment, Health, Life, News, People, pollution, River, Rural, water, World | Comments Off on China’s “cancer village”– Liu-kuai

China: Landslide sends 50,000 cubic metres of mountain mass into Yangtze River

Posted by Author on November 27, 2008


by Chris Thomas, SOH Radio Network, on Thursday, November 27th, 2008 –

A massive landslide at the north shore of the Yangtze River in Chongqing city on Sunday has sent 50,000 cubic square metres of gravel into the river causing massive waves.

According to Chongqing Daily News reports, at around 4.40pm on Sunday, a mountain body situated in the city’s Wushan Prefecture, at the mouth of the Wu Gorge on the northshore of the Yangtze River collapsed, with massive amounts of gravel hurling into the river, sending up large amounts of dust which covered nearby regions also creating huge waves. The waves caused boats docked 2kms away from Wushan to shake strongly, and the Jian-San Hao ship next to a barge was pushed far away by the waves.

According to estimations by Wushan perfection Bureau of Land Management officials, the landslide mass was around 50,000 cubic metres. Boats were immediately banned on the segment of the river, and relevant teams have begun emergency traffic control for the water channels in the region, diverting boats to nearby safe areas. The ban was lifted a few hours later after officials found that the depth of the river was safe, and all traffic on the river has resumed.

Investigations are now underway by Wushan prefecture officials into the cause of the landslide.

The above news is brought to you by Yu Ming and hosted by Chris Thomas for Inside China Today on the SOH Radio Network.

Posted in China, Chongqing, Environment, News, River, SW China, transport, World, Yangtze river | Comments Off on China: Landslide sends 50,000 cubic metres of mountain mass into Yangtze River

Dry, Polluted, Plagued by Rats: The Crisis in China’s Greatest Yangtze River

Posted by Author on January 19, 2008


Jonathan Watts in Beijing, The Guardian, UK, Thursday January 17 2008-

The waters of the Yangtze have fallen to their lowest levels since 1866, disrupting drinking supplies, stranding ships and posing a threat to some of the world’s most endangered species.

Asia’s longest river is losing volume as a result of a prolonged dry spell, the state media warned yesterday, predicting hefty economic losses and a possible plague of rats on nearby farmland.

News of the drought – which is likely to worsen pollution in the river – comes amid dire reports about the impact of rapid economic growth on China’s environment.

The government also revealed yesterday that the country’s most prosperous province, Guangdong, has just had its worst year of smog since the Communist party took power in 1949, while 56,000 square miles of coastline waters failed to meet environmental standards.

But the immediate concern is the Yangtze, which supplies water to hundreds of millions of people and thousands of factories in a delta that accounts for more than 40% of China’s economic output. According to the Chinese media, precipitation and water levels are at or near record lows in its middle and upper stretches.

The scale of the problem was revealed by the Yangtze water resources commission in a report on the Xinhua news agency’s website yesterday. It said that the Hankou hydrological centre near Wuhan city found the river’s depth had fallen to its lowest level in 142 years.

The measurement confirmed fears raised in recent weeks by the appearance of islands and mud flats not normally seen at this time of year. Local farmers reported far more ships than usual being trapped in unnavigable shallow waters.

Jianli county is among the areas suffering water shortages. Officials say the problem has grown worse in the past decade, raising concerns of a link to climate change.

“Before 1996, we were short of water for three months of the year, but now there are only three months when we can use water as normal,” Wu Chunping, the vice-manager of Jianli county’s water utility, was quoted as saying by Xinhua. “I heard that the water level will drop further in February.”

Li Lifeng, director of the freshwater programme of WWF China, said: “The major worry is for aquatic species and birds. If the water level goes too low they will lose a huge level of habitat.”

Among the endangered animals likely to be affected are the finless porpoise and the Chinese sturgeon, which returns to the sea at this time of year.

With the Yangtze three times as crowded with traffic as the Mississippi, conservationists fear the animals will be torn up by boat propellers or contaminated by more concentrated pollution from the 9,000 chemical plants along the Yangtze. Birds such as the Siberian crane may also suffer from the impact on their wintering area.

Local media have expressed concern that the drought could lead to a plague of rats similar to the one near Dongting lake last year after a drought was followed by fast-rising waters that drove the vermin to seek food in farm fields. “When the waters fall, the reeds die and the rats are driven inland in search of food,” said an official in the Yueyang farming and aquatic bureau who declined to give his name.

Original report from the Guardian

Posted in Central China, China, disaster, Drought, Environment, Health, Hubei, Life, News, Plague, pollution, River, Social, transport, water, World, Wuhan, Yangtze river | 1 Comment »

China’s Longest River at Lowest in 142 Years

Posted by Author on January 19, 2008


Reuters, Jan 17, 2008-

BEIJING, Jan 17 (Reuters) – China’s longest river, the Yangtze, is suffering from a severe drought this year with water levels in some areas falling to the lowest in 142 years, state media said on Thursday.

China is suffering its worst drought in a decade, which has left millions of people short of drinking water and has shrunk reservoirs and rivers.

Hardest hit are large swathes of the usually humid south, where water levels on several major rivers have plunged to historic lows in recent months.

On Jan. 8, the Yangtze water level at Hankou plunged to 13.98 metres (46 ft), the lowest since records began in 1866, the China Daily said on Thursday, quoting the Wuhan-based Changjiang Times.

“This year’s drought is rare,” Li Changmin, a farmer from central Hubei province, was quoted as saying. “Just days ago, I saw ship after ship running aground. I have never seen that before.”

Since October, more than 40 ships have run aground in the main course of the Yangtze, the world’s third longest river which stretches 6,300 km (3,900 miles) from west to east, the traditional dividing line between north and south China.

This year’s dry season came a month earlier than usual and water levels fell sooner than expected, an official was quoted as saying.

“Also, large amounts of water were stored at the Three Gorges Dam last month, which caused the flow volume in the river to fall 50 percent. But the Yangtze River Water Resource Commission said the drought has nothing to do with the dam,” the China Daily said.

The Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric project, is an engineering feat that seeks to tame the Yangtze.

Backers say the dam will end devastating floods downstream and generate clean electricity. Critics call it a reckless folly that has brought wrenching dislocation for many people.

Drought and floods are perennial problems in China but meteorologists have complained about the increased extreme weather, pointing to global climate change as a culprit.

Original report from Reuters

Posted in Central China, China, dam, disaster, Drought, Environment, Hubei, Life, News, River, Three Gorges, transport, water, World, Wuhan, Yangtze river | Comments Off on China’s Longest River at Lowest in 142 Years

Google Earth Pictures: Polluted Water in China Discharged into Rivers

Posted by Author on January 12, 2008


Ri Zhao City

Above: Ri Zhao City, Shandong Province, east China

Suzhou City, Zhejiang Province, South East China

Above: Suzhou City, Zhejiang Province, South East China

Wu Xi City

Above: Wu Xi City, Jiang Su province, south China

Tian Jin City

Above: Tian Jin City, east China

Wei Fang City, Shandong province

Above: Wu Fang City, Shandong Province, east China

Xia Men City

Above: Xia Men City, Fu Jian Province, southeast China

He Fei City

Above: He Fei City, An hui province, east China

(All photos are from the Epochtimes’ website)

Posted in Anhui, China, East China, Environment, Fujian, Health, Hefei, Life, News, pollution, River, Shandong, South China, waste, water, World, Xiamen | Comments Off on Google Earth Pictures: Polluted Water in China Discharged into Rivers

Residents fear China’s Three Gorges Dam

Posted by Author on November 28, 2007


MAOPING, China (AFP) — Several times this year, Tan Mingzhu had the terrible feeling her home in central China was about to collapse in on her family.

Frightening tremors rocked their simple concrete dwelling four kilometres (2.5 miles) from China’s mammoth Three Gorges Dam, ripping floor-to-ceiling cracks in the walls, and she doesn’t hesitate in assigning blame.

“It’s because of the dam. This started when the dam went into operation (last year),” said Tan, 36, a mother of one.

The fissures in Tan’s home are among mounting examples of the potentially disastrous impacts of the Yangtze river project, China’s biggest public works undertaking since the Great Wall and the world’s biggest hydropower project.

Built mainly for flood control and hydropower, the giant concrete wall built across China’s longest river has been blamed for a host of worsening environmental ills to go with longstanding concerns about the 1.4 million people uprooted so far to make way for the reservoir’s rising waters.

“An extraordinary amount of damage has been done, not only to property but to the irreplaceable network of human and economic relations that made up the region,” said Patricia Adams, executive director of Toronto-based Probe International, which chronicles the dam’s problems.

Government officials and scientists caused a stir in September when they told a conference that the project could lead to an “environmental catastrophe,” with the comments carried by the official Xinhua news agency.

The conference was told that the huge weight of the water behind the dam had started to erode the Yangtze river’s banks in many places, which, together with frequent fluctuations in water levels, had triggered a series of landslides.

Officials said shortly afterwards another four million people in the area would have to be relocated from around the dam.

After those revelations caused global headlines, the government has run a strong media campaign to say there are no major problems and the extra relocations are not related to the dam.

The head of the office in charge of constructing the dam, Wang Xiaofeng, was among the officials to warn of the dangers in September, but he was brought to Beijing to brief reporters on Tuesday and downplay the concerns.

“Regarding the Three Gorges project’s impact on the ecological environment, the benefits outweigh the negative consequences,” Wang said at the press conference, organised by the central government.

But critics and people living in the region remain fearful.

One of the biggest emerging concerns is that the reservoir’s seasonal water fluctuations have unsettled the delicate geology of the area, raising landslide and other seismic dangers.

“This is a geologically risky area and the dam definitely increases those risks,” Chen Guojie, a geologist at the Institute of Mountain Hazards in Chengdu, told AFP.

Residents of Maoping, in Hubei province, such as Zhou Gonghui, whose concrete house on a steep slope regularly groans and cracks, live in daily fear of those dangers.

Many like him were resettled here by the government in the 1990s from now-submerged zones. He wants to leave out of safety but lacks the money and says the government has been unresponsive.

“Of course, we are scared. but we’re just commoners. What can we do?” asked Zhou, 48.

Another longstanding concern frequently raised is that the dam will prevent the river from flushing the billions of tonnes of pollution dumped into it each year.

Despite the problems, and driven by a desire to lessen the country’s heavy reliance on highly polluting coal, new hydroelectric dams are being built at a furious pace.

Nearly three dozen are being built or planned for the upper reaches of the Yantze alone.

Just this week, construction began on the Xiangjiaba project in southwestern Sichuan province, which will have a third of the energy generating capacity of the Three Gorges Dam.

Original report from AFP

Posted in China, dam, Environment, housing, Life, News, People, River, Rural, Social, Three Gorges, World, Yangtze river | 1 Comment »

Millions bewildered and scared as world’s largest dam takes shape in China

Posted by Author on November 20, 2007


The Sydney Morning Herald, November 18, 2007-

China stands almost alone in wielding the wealth and will to conjure vast engineering efforts to alter the flow of rivers and the lives of millions. But many of its people are bewildered and frightened as the world’s largest dam takes shape, writes Chris Buckley

In a precarious apartment overlooking the Yangtze River, Xu Faxiu and her sick husband are holding out as the Government wrenches more than 1.4million people from their homes to make way for the vast Three Gorges Dam.

Whole towns and villages have been resettled to higher slopes or distant provinces as the water rises – an exodus that has brought protests of official corruption and inadequate compensation from displaced people, many of them poor farmers.

Before the waters peak at 175metres next year, Xu, 51, and her husband, Chen Kaishen, must abandon “old Badong”, a steep maze of rotting concrete blocks and half-demolished residences.

They are not ready to go. To stay, however, could mean death.

“This place could collapse, I know, but where do we go?” Xu says from her temporary home on the fifth floor of a largely abandoned apartment building.

She and her husband – rendered mute by two strokes – moved in when their old house, further down the slopes, was threatened as authorities began to lift the dam level.

“Everyone here will have to move out soon. I don’t know where we’ll go,” she says. “Complaining is useless. When you’re poor nobody listens.”

Xu and Chen’s story is a small drama illuminating the hardships and tensions the Three Gorges Dam has brought central China’s Hubei province – where Badong lies – and neighbouring Chongqing municipality.

The dam is an engineering feat of staggering proportions which seeks to tame the world’s third-longest river.

The 6300-kilometre Yangtze, which rises on the Tibetan plateau, flows through the towering Three Gorges to irrigate, and often flood, much of the country’s central and eastern plains……. ( more details from the The Sydney Morning Herald)

Posted in China, Chongqing, dam, Environment, housing, Life, News, People, River, Rural, Social, SW China, Three Gorges, World, Yangtze river | Comments Off on Millions bewildered and scared as world’s largest dam takes shape in China

China’s Three Gorges Dam Under Fire

Posted by Author on October 14, 2007


By LIN YANG, the Times, UK, Friday, Oct. 12, 2007-

The giant Three Gorges Dam across China’s Yangtze river has been mired in controversy ever since it was first proposed 88 years ago by Sun Yat Sen, the founding father of Modern China. In 1992, when Chinese Premier Li Peng submitted a proposal for the dam to China’s normally pliant parliament, the National People’s Congress, it ran into serious opposition and ultimately passed with the smallest margin in the legislature’s history.

Still, it is a sign of just how grave the problems are facing the world’s largest dam that criticism is now coming from top government officials in Beijing, who previously had studiously avoided saying anything derogatory about the $180 billion project. In June, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told a meeting of the State Council, convened to discuss the Three Gorges project, that solving environmental problems surrounding the controversial dam project should be a priority for the country. On Sept. 25, a group of senior government officials and scholars announced at a work meeting in Wuhan that the project had the potential to cause a “huge disaster … if steps are not taken promptly.” And on Oct. 9, the Chongqing municipal government announced it would have to relocate an additional four million people in at-risk areas due to environmental damange caused by the dam.

Originally built to control the Yangtze’s regular flooding, produce electricity to fuel China’s booming economy and (not incidentally) serve as a symbol of the nation’s emerging engineering prowess, the Three Gorges Dam has already faced a host of problems. An estimated 1.4 million residents have been displaced by the 640-km-long reservoir forming behind it, which also flooded several important archaeological sites. And some hydrologists say that by trapping silt the dam could actually make downstream riverbanks more vulnerable to flooding.

Now, however, scientists say things are getting worse. The water quality of the Yangtze’s tributaries is deteriorating rapidly, as the dammed river is less able to disperse pollutants effectively. The incidence of algae blooms have risen steadily since the reservoir was completed in 2006. The rising water is also causing rampant soil erosion, resulting in riverbank collapses and landslides along the shores of the Yangtze’s tributaries. Professor Lei Henshun, an environmentalist at Chongqing University who has devoted years to studying and preserving the Three Gorges ecosystem, says that if the water level of the reservoir reaches its planned height of 165 meters next year, it will bring tributaries of the Yangtze River under even greater environmental threat. “Now it’s a good time to review the problems that have arisen,” he says, “before a larger flooded area brings an even bigger impact on the tributaries.”…… (more details from the Time)

Posted in China, Economy, Environment, Life, News, Politics, River, Three Gorges, water, World, Yangtze river | 1 Comment »

China to Relocate 100,000 Tibetan Nomads From Grasslands Into Towns

Posted by Author on October 3, 2007


BBC News, Tuesday, 2 October 2007-

China is ordering 100,000 nomadic Tibetans to move from grasslands into towns and villages in a bid to protect the environment, state media said.

The Tibetans are being relocated to protect the source area of key Chinese rivers in north-west China’s Qinghai province, Xinhua news agency reported.

The grasslands are suffering from overgrazing, desertification and the effects of climate change, it said.

Some 60,000 people will be moved by year-end and 40,000 more by 2010.

Housing will be provided for all those forced to move, Xinhua said, but the head of one Tibetan community said it was not an easy process.

Tibetan lifestyle

Qinghai province is a source for both the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, but experts have warned of a crisis over water supply.

Climate change is melting glaciers that feed the rivers and subterranean water supplies have been reduced by increased population and industrialisation, experts say.

The relocation programme, aimed at restoring the ecology of the grasslands, is China’s biggest resettlement project, Xinhua said.

Those who move will be given accommodation and greenhouses in which to grow vegetables, Li Xiaonan, an official in charge of the project, told the agency.

But the BBC’s James Reynolds, in Beijing, says that it appears that the nomads have no choice in the matter.

The ruling communist party says that everyone affected is being offered compensation, but that is unlikely to satisfy Tibetans, our correspondent says.

Many argue that China has been determined for many years to destroy their way of life as a people.

Environmentalists suggest that if China is really keen on protecting its environment it should focus its efforts on cleaning up its polluted rivers and reducing its carbon emissions, our correspondent says.

– Original report from BBC news: China to relocate Tibetan nomads

Posted in China, Climate, Economy, Environment, ethnic, housing, Life, News, NW China, People, Politics, pollution, Qinghai, Religion, Religious, River, Social, Tibetan, World | Comments Off on China to Relocate 100,000 Tibetan Nomads From Grasslands Into Towns

China Admits Three Gorges Dam Could Cause Environmental Disasters

Posted by Author on September 27, 2007


By VOA News, U.S, 26 September 2007-

Chinese state media report that experts say the country could face a catastrophe if it fails to quickly resolve environmental problems caused by the massive Three Gorges Dam.

Government-run news outlets Wednesday said experts are concerned by flooding and erosion on hillsides along the Yangtze River around the dam.

The reports note the concerns of Wang Xiaofeng, the head of the office in charge of constructing the dam. He is quoted as saying China can not win by achieving economic prosperity at the cost of the environment.

He said the hydro-electric project has caused conflicts over land shortages and environmental degradation caused by irrational development.

The Chinese government has hailed the Three Gorges Dam as its greatest engineering project since the Great Wall.

It has said the project is a source of clean power and a solution to devastating flooding on the Yangtze River.

Human rights and environmental activists have long condemned the $22 billion dam, because of its negative effects on people and the environment.

The construction and flooding behind the dam has forced nearly one-and-a-half million people to leave their homes.

Original report from VOA News

Posted in China, disaster, Environment, Life, News, Politics, River, Social, Three Gorges, World, Yangtze river | 3 Comments »

An National Issue of China: 300 Million People Drinking Polluted Water

Posted by Author on September 11, 2007


ChinaScope Magazine, Tue, 09/11/2007-

The “The Law to Prevent and Treat Water Pollution (modified draft) of the People’s Republic of China” was publicized on September 5, 2007. In the just ended 10th NPC Standing Committee meeting on September 29, water pollution was placed as an issue of national survival. [1]

The director of the State Environmental Protection Administration, Zhou Shengxian, stated that half of the cities in China have severely polluted groundwater; 300 million people in the rural areas are drinking water with safety problems. In some areas, “all the rivers have dried and all the water has been polluted.”

Of China’s seven major river systems, the Songhua River, the Yellow River, and the Huai River are moderately polluted; while the Liao River and the Hai River are severely polluted. Water pollution has become a general problem.

According to a field visit by the NPC Environmental Committee in July, the speed of treating polluted water is far slower than the speed of pollution.

“When I was in my childhood, the water in the Yangtze River was clear and tasted sweet. Now it is not good,” a committee member who grew up on the riverside said. “We found that there are lots of floating things in the Three Gorges Dam, people can even stand on them.”

Economic development and environmental protection is a dilemma for local governments. A committee member, Jia Zhijie, said that Western countries had the lesson of pollution then treatment, whereas “we not only could not avoid the mistake, but have made a bigger mistake.”

“The pollution is a result of profit pursuing. However, the cost to treat the water pollution will be more than a dozen times the profit we have gained,” Jia also stated. “For example, to hold the World Horticultural Expo in Yunan, large amounts of money was spent to treat the Dianchi Lake pollution. However, 5 billion yuan was not enough, now they are asking for another 10 billion, which, however, still does not guarantee to completely treat the pollution.”

According to the statistics of the State Environmental Protection Administration, in 2005 there were 1406 accidents of environmental pollution in China, of which 693 (49.2%) were water pollution.

Water pollution accidents are usually not reported in a timely manner. For example, pollution in the Songhua River in 2005 was not publicized during the first 8 days.

The local governments usually push away their responsibilities. They often say that “the pollution came from upstream.” [1]

– Original report from chinascope.org : Water Safety Problems Afflict 300 Million People, the Chinese NPC Standing Committee Regard It an Issue of National Survival

Posted in China, Environment, Food, Health, Life, News, People, pollution, River, Rural, Social, water, World | 1 Comment »

Polluted China Rivers Unfit To Touch, Threaten 1/6 of Population

Posted by Author on August 27, 2007


Reuters, Aug 27, 2007-

BEIJING (Reuters) – Polluters along two of China’s main rivers have defied a decade-old clean-up effort, leaving much of the water unfit to touch, let alone drink, and a risk to a sixth of the population, state media said on Monday.

Half the check points along the Huai River and its tributaries in central and eastern China showed pollution of “Grade 5” or worse — the top of the dial in key toxins, meaning that the water was unfit for human contact and may not be fit even for irrigation, national legislators were told.

Years of crackdowns and waste treatment investment have reined in some of the worst damage to the Huai and Liao Rivers, but industrial pollution remained far too high, Mao Rubai, chairman of the National People’s Congress environment and resources protection committee, said in a report delivered on Sunday.

The rivers posed a “threat to the water safety of one sixth of the country’s 1.3 billion population,” the China Daily said.

The pollution on the Huai threatened the massive South-North Water Transfer Project to draw water from the Yangtze River through the Huai basin to the country’s parched north, Mao said.

“Large volumes of untreated domestic effluent and industrial waste-water are dumped directly into the river,” Mao said of one of the Huai’s worst polluted tributaries, according to the NPC Web site (www.npc.gov.cn).

“To judge from the inspection, the quality of water used for the South-North Water Transfer Project is threatened by pollution, and this must attract our vigilance.”

In Zhoukou city in central Henan province, 15 of 23 factories inspected were found to be illegally dumping waste, Mao said……. ( more details from Reuters’ report: Polluted China rivers threaten “sixth” of population)

Posted in Central China, East China, Environment, Health, Henan, Huai River, Liao Rivers, Life, medical, News, pollution, River, Social, water, World | 1 Comment »

Expert Says Chinese Companies Keep Polluting Amur River in Russia

Posted by Author on July 28, 2007


Prime-Tass, Russia, July 27, 2007-

KHABAROVSK, July 27 (Prime-Tass) — Chinese companies continue to pollute the Amur River (Called as Heilongjiang River, in northeast China), which is located on the Russian-Chinese border, Alexei Makhinov, deputy director of Russia’s Institute for Aquatic and Environmental Problems, said Friday, ITAR-TASS reported.

The content of volatile phenols in the Amur River is 10% to 20% higher than the maximum allowable concentration, ITAR-TASS reported, citing a spokesman for the environmental protection department of the Khabarovsk Region’s Natural Resources Ministry.

Meanwhile, the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring’s branch in Russia’s Far East has said that it found high levels of arsenic, mercury, cadmium, lead, zinc and copper in the Amur River and the nearby Ussuri River, as cited by ITAR-TASS.

Additionally, the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare has attributed a current meningitis epidemic in the area to high virus content in the Amur River, ITAR-TASS reported.

original report from Prime-Tass

Posted in Asia, China, Economy, Environment, Health, Heilongjiang, Law, Life, medical, NE China, News, pollution, River, Social, water, World | Comments Off on Expert Says Chinese Companies Keep Polluting Amur River in Russia

China’s Deadly Pollution of Air, Water, Land and Health Status

Posted by Author on July 18, 2007


According to an 18-month study released recently by the Organisation for EconomicPolluted river- Songhuajiang Co-operation and Development (OECD)  and previous exposed World Bank report,  here’s some numbers showing the deadly pollution of air, water, land  and the health status in China:

(picture: The polluted Songhua river near to the Chinese city of Harbin. Photograph: China Photos/Getty, from The Guardian website)

1. “highly polluted” water, covering:

– 1/3 the length of all China’s rivers
– 75% of its major lakes
– 25% of all its coastal waters

    Caused health problem:

– 300 million people are drinking contaminated water on a daily basis
– 190 million are suffering from water related illnesses each year
– Nearly 30,000 children die from diarrhoea due to polluted water each year

2.  Air:

– overtake the United States as the world’s top emitter of greenhouse gases

    Caused health problem:

750,000 Chinese die prematurely each year, Beijing forced the World Bank to delete this figures from a similar report.
– Unless pollution is controlled, by 2020 it will cause 600,000 premature deaths in urban areas and 20 million cases of respiratory illness a year

3. waste:

– More than 17,000 towns have no sewage works at all
– human waste from nearly one billion people is barely collected or treated

– Nearly 70% of the rural population has no access to safe sanitation.

4. Land:
– 27% of the landmass of the country is now becoming desertified

5. City:

world’s 20 most polluted cities are in China

Find related reports from The Guardian (UK), Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) and previous post

Posted in air, Asia, China, Climate, Environment, Health, Life, medical, News, pollution, Report, River, Social, waste, water, World | Comments Off on China’s Deadly Pollution of Air, Water, Land and Health Status

Tens of Millions Battle Deadly Floods Across China

Posted by Author on July 12, 2007


Reuters, Wed Jul 11, 2007-

BEIJING (Reuters) – Tens of millions of residents across China on Wednesday were grappling with the threat or aftermath of disastrous floods that have killed at least 131 people in the past two weeks.

China’s flood season is notoriously deadly. At least 360 people have died in floods and related disasters across the country this summer and more than 4 million hectares of crops had been destroyed.

About 10,000 People’s Liberation Army troops were on standby to battle the worst flood on the Huai River — flowing through densely populated areas in central and eastern China — since 1954, state media said.

Authorities diverted water from the Huai, home to about 100 million people along its entire length, to flood dozens of evacuated villages in the eastern province of Anhui on Tuesday to ease pressure.

The 180 square kilometre area, home to 157,800 people, would suffer economic losses of 600 million yuan ($79 million) from destroyed crops, fish farms, roads and other infrastructure, Xinhua news agency said.

Water levels remained at alarming levels on Wednesday despite the release and the flooding of another three similar rural “flood reserve areas”, state television said.

The swollen Hongze Lake in the downstream province of Jiangsu was expecting 230 billion cubic metres of water, or six times its normal capacity, from the Huai, prompting the opening of an 163-km emergency canal to discharge floodwater to the Yellow Sea.

More heavy rain was forecast for the upper reaches of the Huai on Wednesday night and throughout Thursday to compound the disaster, China Central Television said, showing pictures of troops rescuing stranded villagers in speedboats.

Floods, landslides and house collapses triggered by downpours since June 28 have killed 131 people and left 31 missing in seven provinces and municipalities and forced the evacuation of 1.17 million residents, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

At least 39 of the deaths occurred after downpours across the Jialing River Valley in the southwestern province of Sichuan, which have resulted in floods in almost all the tributaries of Qujiang River, a branch of the Jialing, and triggered severe mountain torrents, mud-rock flows and landslides.

“Ferocious floods battered 40 counties along their route, submerging the downtown areas of four counties and shattering two small dams,” Xinhua said.

Authorities were rushing to restore tap water, power and cooking gas in the flooded towns and residents were cleaning up the mud in the streets, Xinhua said.

“The air-conditioner and refrigerator I just bought last month were all damaged,” Zheng Kaifu, who was inspecting the debris that used to be his house in Qu county, told Xinhua.

The central government on Tuesday allocated 232 million yuan to flood-hit provinces to battle the disaster, which has affected nearly 36 million people in the past two weeks and caused 9.9 billion yuan in direct economic lossed by Tuesday, Xinhua said.

original report from Reuters

Posted in Central China, China, disaster, East China, Flood, River, SE China, SW China | 1 Comment »

61 Hospitalised by Polluted River in China – state media

Posted by Author on June 20, 2007


By : Agencies, Published on abcmoney.co.uk, Wed, 20 Jun 2007-

BEIJING (XFN-ASIA) – More than 60 people had to be treated in hospital for a severe skin reaction after coming into contact with a polluted Chinese river, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The victims, who had collected dead fish or washed their clothes in the Jindong River in eastern Anhui province on Tuesday, felt a burning sensation on their skin a few hours later,

The report, citing the local government, said an oily substance could be seen on the river, but the cause of the pollution was not yet known.

Nine of the victims stayed in hospital overnight, while the others were released after shorter treatment, the report added.

In China more than 70 pct of rivers and lakes are polluted, while underground water supplies in 90 pct of Chinese cities are contaminated, previous state media reports have said.

afp

– original report from  abcmoney.co.uk : Polluted Chinese river hospitalises 61 – state media

Posted in China, East China, Environment, Health, Life, medical, News, People, pollution, River, Rural, water | Comments Off on 61 Hospitalised by Polluted River in China – state media