China dam

April 06, 1992

It is no surprise that the neo-Maoist regime of Deng Xiaoping is going ahead, do-it-now style, on the world's biggest hydro-electric project. The 600-foot dam on China's unruly Yangtze River will produce untold millions of kilowatts of electric power and change forever the majestic Three Gorges.

It is no surprise that the decades-long argument for taming the Yangtze floods, harnessing its power and making its upper reaches navigable won out over fears of lost wildlife and farmland and geological instability.

The surprise is that when 1,767 National People's Congress deputies in Beijing rubber-stamped approval of the project, 177 opposed and 664 abstained. Dissent is still suppressed, but the suppression is not working very well.

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