Changing China

Giant on the move

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from Environment Forum:

‘Borrowing’ water, Chinese style

"The south has plenty of water and the north lacks it, so if possible why not borrow some?" China's revolutionary communist leader Mao Zedong said in 1952.

That probably seemed a great idea at the time.

But it is causing pollution as well as discontent among farmers facing forced resettlement to make way for a mammoth construction to help the parched north -- the South-to-North Transfer Project. Much of the system, of dams, canals and tunnels, is due for completion in 2013-14.

Read my colleague Chris Buckley's fascinating feature about the project as well as a related story and a factbox. The photo above left, by David Gray, shows a fisherman near the village of Shizigang, located on the Danjiangkou Dam that is part of the project in Henan province.

Among the statistics -- about 12.5 million Chinese have been moved to make way for 86,000 dams since 1949, according to one study.  (12.5 million people is more than the entire population of countries such as Greece, Cuba, Belgium or Tunisia). And the "dam migrants" (as they are known) have long fanned unrest.   

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