The mathematics of disaster
building of mega-dams + mining + Lhasa railway
= potential eco-disaster
And indications are that things could get worse. Much worse.
Here are some headlines:
Tibetans can be locked away for years for a simple phone-call, email or blog entry—or even a singing a song—that questions official
Chinese policy or actions. Given this context, it is incredible that Tibetans would dare to stage a public protest. As these news stories show,
Tibetans are prepared to make a stand on the wanton destruction of Tibet's environment—at great personal risk.
SECRET DAM CONSTRUCTION
To avoid possible protest, mega-dam projects in SW China are being pushed through without any EIAs (Environmental Impact Assessment), and without
bothering to inform the locals. The two facets are related, in that an EIA would reveal to the locals what mega-impact such a mega-dam project would
have—including massive relocation of locals. Military and para-military presence is heavy in towns where protest is likely to erupt—in a
blatant attempt to intimidate locals. This style of dam-building can only be described as 'damming with Chinese characteristics.'
Dam construction is being done in secret, and local residents are kept in total darkness regarding their own future. Work on Ahai Dam, in the upper
Yangtse region, was carried out in secret by Sinohydro Corporation. Signs declaring the site a 'military zone' were erected to discourage visitors.
There was no EIA at Ahai Dam: authorities planning to visit the dam to approve the project were presented with a dam that was practically completed.
A complete lack of EIA is the situation for the construction of other dams in the upper Yangtse—at Ludila Dam (where a mudslide killed eight
people in August 2008), and at Jinganqiao Dam.
The nation of Pakistan is heavily reliant on the waters of the Indus River (which is sourced in Tibet). Pakistan was thus shocked when it learned
about construction of a dam in far-west Tibet on a tributary of the Indus. Pakistan had no time to react: the nation only found out about the dam
after its completion was announced by China.
In Tibet, the work on dam construction is being done under the radar—and often with police and military sealing off the construction zone.
One source reveals that dozens of dams within Tibet are being constructed with the help of the Tibet Armed Police Hydropower Team.
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