Three Gorges Dam
One of the largest and most controversial dams in the world, the multiple solutions available from a massive Yangtze River dam made this an enticing proposition for nearly a century. Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Chinese Republic, supported the idea when it was first mooted in 1919. Mao Zedong wrote an influential poem pledging support. And for China’s new generation of technocratic leaders, it would be hard to understate the appeal of better flood control, increased trade on the upper Yangtze and above all, cheap electricity.
A potent symbol of China’s confidence in undertaking large-scale engineering projects, the 600-foot dam has however engendered pollution and geological issues.
“Although the Three Gorges project provides huge comprehensive benefits, urgent problems must be resolved regarding the smooth relocation of residents, ecological protection and geological disaster prevention,” China’s State Council, a coordinating body often likened to the United States cabinet, announced in 2011.