Bob says: China is currently undertaking one of the most ambitious engineering projects ever in their quest to dam the yankze. A few facts:
The dam is 2 km wide
The lake it will create will stretch back over 500km
Over 1.5 million people will be re housed
In addition to this much of the impressive yankze gorges (the very things we went to see) will be submerged along with thousands historic sites. This highly controversial project has many practical advantages, not least much needed power and a reduction of flooding further down the river, but the loss in my opinion far outways the gains.
A classic bit of chinese propaganda was to take us on a free(very uncommon) tour of a new town development that will be on the shores of the lake. Sadly, although the town was only 2 years old it already seemed to be falling apart and all the buildings looked exactly the same, it did not inspire the confidence that I think the chinese are hoping for. Alongside this was a Ming dynasty historic town that had supposedly been rebuilt brick by brick to save it from flooding. This town was still under construction and was surrounded by stone masons fashioning new stone to look old, so quite how much of the original buildings were retrieved is questionable.
Another bit of food for thought, in the 70s china constructed 2 dams in different areas of the country, one was never completed and the other burst, with catastrophic results. 230,000 people were killed. The international community only got wind of this in the late 90s when the Yankze dam construction was already underway. Should the yankze dam burst it would wipe out the city of Yichang where millions of people live........extremely worrying!!
Above is a picture of the kids from the new town with their goods to sell.