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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Tiger Leaping Gorge (China) by Ellerd on 15 January 2007 4:24am
Remember Tiger Leaping Gorge, the spectacular chasm Michael Palin trekked through in Episode 5 of Himalaya? If you've ever wanted to follow in his footsteps, you probably better do it soon. From Wikipedia's article on Tiger Leaping Gorge:

"Although Tiger Leaping Gorge is an essential part of the World Heritage protected "Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan", the Chinese government has floated proposals for a hydroelectric dam on the Jinsha River since 2004. The Yunnan provincial government is currently proceeding with plans to continue with the project despite vocal public objections in China and overseas. As of 2006, the Yunnan provicinial government is lobbying UNESCO to excise the proposed site of the dam from the definition of the "Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan" in order to facilitate construction of the dam. At the same time, construction has already begun on the other 12 dams of the same project which lie just outside the boundaries of the heritage area, even though it has not been approved by the State Council. Media reports suggest that the Lijiang city government is waiving standard procedures in order to facilitate the project.

The project would displace up to 100,000 people, mainly the Naxi and Tibetan minorities; virtually stop the flow of the upper Yangtze River, and irreparably alter the landscape of the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Concerns have been expressed that the government is providing inadequate compensation for relocated residents, and that residents of the Bai and Tibetan ethnicities are being forced to change their traditional lifestyles through relocation. This project is also related to the Three Gorges Dam and the South-North Water Transfer Project, both of which are causing, or will cause, massive environmental damage and the destruction of thousands of cultural heritage sites."


What a shame...
Re: Tiger Leaping Gorge (China) by sighthound on 15 January 2007 5:08am
Reminds me of the destruction by dam of the amazing Glen Canyon on the Colorado River. It still remains an environmental dream to blow up Glen Canyon Dam and restore the canyon and river. (Read Edward Abbey's "Monkey Wrench Gang" - great book.)
Re: Tiger Leaping Gorge (China) by foreignrabbit on 15 January 2007 5:27am
in zimbabwe they want to build a hotel over victoria falls and in botswana they wanted to use the okavango delta as an industrial water source!!!!

its a plague all this development.
Re: Tiger Leaping Gorge (China) by Ellerd on 15 January 2007 5:55am
Geraldine - there's also the 10,000 year old Kurdish town of Hasankeyf that will be flooded when the Turkish government builds the Ilisu Dam on the Tigris River.

I wonder how long it will be before the Australian government fulfils the dreams of oil companies by letting them search for deposits in the Coral Sea?

Martin - without the Okavango Delta, wouldn't Botswana be kissing its entire tourism industry goodbye?

I wonder if these sort of stories will become more common in the future?
Re: Tiger Leaping Gorge (China) by foreignrabbit on 15 January 2007 2:02pm
yes ellerd they would have thats. luckily for botswana the stupid officials decided not to do it.

thus "they wanted to" but an example of development actually helping very much well hindering just a little is the lesotho highlands project. without which i doubt the country would survive financialy.

Re: Tiger Leaping Gorge (China) by Ellerd on 16 January 2007 10:11am
You would think building a massive hydroelectric dam in such a geologically unstable area as Yunnan wouldn't be the smartest idea...
Re: Tiger Leaping Gorge (China) by Ellerd on 16 January 2007 10:17am
P.S. I found this article, for anyone that's still interested. Gives a bit of background info. It's a couple of years old, though:


InterPress Service October 12/2004

Tiger Leaping Gorge draws strength from Nu River activists
by Antoaneta Bezlova
Beijing: China's nascent green movement is throwing a gauntlet to the country's new leadership in a nationwide drive to save the last of China's free-flowing rivers.

In an exceptional bid to influence the bureaucratic fortress of China's energy policies, green groups want the government to prove true on their pledges to abandon single-minded economic growth at the expense of the environment.

Emboldened by a surprise victory this summer in the fight to prevent the damming of the international Salween River, China's green groups are bracing up for another organised effort to stop the construction of the Tiger Leaping Gorge dam on the upstream of the Yangtze River in South China's Yunnan province.

They say the proposed dam would destroy the pristine environment of one of the deepest canyons in the world - a natural beauty spot known to generations of Chinese, strip local people of their livelihood and force the relocation of some 100,000 people, many of them from minority groups.

''(Chinese) environmentalists have decided to make this their next major campaign,'' says Ma Jun, an environmental consultant and author of a major study on the polluted state of China's rivers. ''I'm optimistic they will succeed because this case is a touchstone of all the big talks on balancing environmental preservation with development.''

After the economic heydays of the 1990s, new president Hu Jintao and premier Wen Jiabao have committed themselves to a major environmental clean-up in one of the world's most polluted countries.

Environmental damage is taking a toll on the country and the cost of undoing it is costing the country between five to 12 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Chinese leaders see environmental protection and improvement as part of their target of ''scientific development'' to co-ordinate the economy, society and ecology. They want to create a longer-term and sustainable development framework, not just to preserve China's environment, but also to gain popular support.

Following a nationwide campaign of opposition organised by the green groups earlier this year, Premier Wen Jiabao suspended plans for a cascade of 13 dams on the Nu River, also known as the Salween River, which is also shared by China, Burma and Thailand.

Reports said the planned dams would be capable of generating 21 million kilowatts of electricity a year, 30 percent more than the massive Three Gorges Dam.

Energy demands of China's runaway economy have soared over recent years, outstripping supply and making Chinese leaders uneasy about future energy needs.

Advocates are also pushing for dams saying they would boost the nation's energy supplies and lift the region's people out of abject poverty.

Both the Chinese and foreign media, including the Chinese official English-language newspaper 'China Daily', have reported the commencement of construction at the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Crews are carrying out demolitions all around the area daily. According to a local small restaurant owner quoted in the 'South China Morning Post', mud and water from the blast are everywhere, and ''many trees are being pulled out by the roots.''

Non-governmental organisations and local green groups are now hoping that they can garner the same level of support - both local and international -- to stop the Tiger Leaping Gorge Dam, as they did with the Nu River dam.

In opposition to the Nu River dam, the United Nations also joined the protesters' camp pointing out that the Nu was part of the Three Parallel Rivers area that is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site for its unique biodiversity.

Premier Wen's intervention in the dam project elated Chinese environmentalists that for years fought the mammoth Three Gorges Dam with little result. The Three Gorges Dam - the world's largest is blamed for causing environmental devastation and the forcible removal of almost two million people.

Environmental objections to major public works were largely steamrolled during the years of previous communist leaderships. In a recently released memoir, Premier Wen's predecessor - hydraulic engineer Li Peng, famously describes how his generation of leaders never allowed country's energy plans to be ''jostled'' by petitioners.

A petition signed by nine non-governmental organizations was sent recently to the top leaders urging them to stop the Tiger Leaping Gorge dam.

''We call on the authorities to fulfil the vision of science-based development...to balance the human interests against nature, in order to leave our precious world heritage like Hutiaoxia (Tiger Leaping Gorge), the first bend of the Yangtze, to the world and to future generations,'' said the petition signed by environmental organisations which included Green Earth Volunteers and Friends of Nature.

Meanwhile, a string of high-profile articles in popular publications like the 'Southern Weekend', 'Beijing Today' and even the official 'China Daily' appeared one after another, calling for the historic gorge to be preserved.

But environmentalists are not being overly optimistic. Despite the growing momentum of opposition to the project, they caution that construction of the dam could be difficult to halt.

''The stakes are extremely high,'' says Ma Jun, the consultant who was the first to produce a study on the implications of the dam. ''Apart from the hydropower companies, the Yunnan government is also really enthusiastic as it eyes the future reservoir as the ideal place to divert water to dilute the foul water of the Dianchi lake (in the capital city of Yunnan province).''

The dam would be a joint project between the Yunnan government and a subsidiary of the power giant China Huaneng Group, the country's largest independent power producer.

The company is run by Li Xiaopeng, the son of the former prime minister, Li Peng who was the driving force behind the constriction of the Three Gorges Dam.

According to Guangzhou-based 'Southern Weekend' China Huaneng group would pay 400 million yuan (48.33 million U.S. dollars) in tax revenues to Beijing, which is twice the total annual income of the Lijiang local government - which administers the Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Re: Tiger Leaping Gorge (China) by foreignrabbit on 16 January 2007 2:21pm
well to the prevoius quiestion i'd say no ellerd.

the situation in lesotho is completely different in that it is a very small country with extremely limited natural resources (or at least the ability to attain these resources) but they did have a lot of water they werent using and they ended up using this wasted water to their advantage.

china on the other hand is huge and rich and full of resources. while i dont want to endorse attacking the earth with development i have to admit that dam building is a very effective way of creating jobs and providing a long term solution to water shortages.
Re: Tiger Leaping Gorge (China) by Ellerd on 18 January 2007 4:28am
Tourism is an equally effective way of creating jobs, Martin. Once the dam is built, where will all the workers go from there? Maybe the Chinese will level Mt Everest (or their half) for an international airport? (*removes tongue from cheek*)
Re: Tiger Leaping Gorge (China) by foreignrabbit on 20 January 2007 11:12pm
wel it's taken me long to reply but dont take that as a sign of weakness. (even though it may truly have been) tourism in lesotho before 1995 was dismal. withought the roads built by the dam engineers it was impossible to get from one side of the country to the other without going back into south africa. along with the roads came the maintainence crews and great new trading possibiltys. with the damn came even more tourism (fishing being no.2 to mountaineering in lesotho) as well as providing a source of water for small subsistance farms. it also helped in that it gave water to the rich industrial centres of south africa thus giving the project the oppertunity to really reap the rewards of its water. this also improves the job rates. magically. statistically speaking poorer countrys have higher unimployment.

i only falter in this.

which is a product of which, poor countrys rise unimployment or unemployment creates poor countrys?

chicken or the egg story isnt it.

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