The people most affected by the dam are the 1 to 2 million who will be relocated when 19 cities and 326 towns will be submerged 3. The relocation efforts are already underway. Thousands of people have either moved down or up to unaffected parts oulof the river or to higher elevations. China passed regulations in the 1980's that ensured rights to those relocated because of dam projects. "Human rights activists asserted that rural dwellers are being discriminated, that they are not being consulted about their eviction, that they are often crowded onto poor land with unsatisfactory living conditions and few job oppportunities." 5. The Chinese government asserts that those relocated for the Three Gorges project will live in better conditions than before and have more job opportunities. Many who are being relocated trust this promise, and live on the faith that the government will follow through. In a documentary conducted by PBS, many of those interviewed were looking forward to the life the government offered them. 4
Those living downstream of the dam are another public to be considered. They will live in the threat of a terrible catostophe occurring if the dam ever collapses. Dams are like national monuments and considered threats of terrorism. It is not rare for dams to collapse and China has had its share of accidents 3. Safety and security precautions are a concern, and China may have to provide an answer as to how they intend to ensure this. On the other hand, the provinces downstream of the dam do consider themselves lucky because their land will avoid being submerged, and there are actually many benefits such as not having to worry about deadly floods of the past. 5
Another public to be considered in all of this is neighboring countries. River systems systain large complex ecosystems. Diverse and healthy ecosystems are important to not only that specific system, but to the ones that surround them. Even though China is has a huge landmass it would not be inconcievable that other ecosystems would be affected by this drastic change.
Stockholders in the domestic and international companies who are sponsoring the $25 billion and plus project. Some experts believe that the amount of energy supplied by the dam could never surpass the expensive of building it. 5 This would leave many companies with a considerable loss.
The world at large. Many countries have banded together to fight global warming. China, uses coal as their primary energy source. They claim that hydropower will cut the amount of coal usage. This is a positive step and the world will be watching to see how really effective hydropower is in terms of dimishing it's ozone damaging energy activities.
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2. Ni Chen, "Public Relations Education in the People's Republic of China." Journalism Educator, Spring 1994, p. 14-22.
3. David Coffey, "Coverage of China's Three Gorges Dam in the Globe and Mail and New York Times. Master's Thesis, University of Florida.
4. Jim Malusa, "Valley of the Dammed." The Discovery Channel, (premiered) January 10, 1997
5. "Great Wall Across the Yangtze" PBS brodcast televsion http://www.pbs.org/greatwall
6. "Three Gorges Dam Project" http://www.chinaonline.com/refer/ministry_profiles/threegorgesdam.html
1. Photo of people in relocation area. Photo courtesy of Jim Malusa, "Valley of the Dammed." The Discovery Channel.
2. Map of China with detail of the Yangtze River, and Three Gorges Dam area. Three Gorges Map courtesy of International Rivers Network.