Case Studies in Earth & Environmental Science Journalism

Three Gorges Dam, China

Questions to Ponder and Discuss


Background information

Central Intelligence Agency, 2001, CIA World Factbook, retrieved March 31, 2000, <>.

Rulan, Z. et al, 1997, The Three Gorges Project: Key to the Development of the Yangtze River, Civil Engineering Practice, 12(1): 56.

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to the United States of America, 1997, Chronology of Three Gorges Project, retrieved April 2, 2002, <>.

People’s online Daily, 2001, The Three Gorges Dam Project, retrieved April 4, 2002, <

Science & Engineering Issues

Edmonds, R. L., 1992, The Sanxia (Three Gorges) project: the environmental argument surrounding China’s super dam, Global Ecology and Biogeography Letters, 1: 105-125.

Goodland, R., 1997, The big dams debate: The environmental sustainability challenge for dam engineers, Civil Engineering Practice, 12(1): 11-32.

Drennen, T. E. and J. D. Erickson, 1998, Who will fuel China, Science, 279: 1483.

Lei, X., 1998, Going against the flow in China, Science, 280: 24-26.

Zhang, J. et al, 1999, Whuman impacts on the large world rivers: Would the Changjiang (Yangtze River) be an illustration?, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 13(4): 1099-1105.

Chen, C-E. A., 2000, The Three Gorges Dam: Reducing the upwelling and thus productivity in the East China Sea, Geophysical Research Letters, 27(3): 381-383.

Social Issues

Central Intelligence Agency, 1997, The Chinese Media: More autonomous and diverse— within limits (Appendix A: The media and the Three Gorges Dam), retrieved March 31, 2002, <>.

Qing, D., 1993, The Three Gorges Dam project and free speech in China, Chicago Review, 39(3-4): 275-278.

Bo, W., 1998, Greening the Chinese media, China Environment Series, Summer 1998, 39-44.

Anon, 1998, Popular petitions protesting corruption and embezzlement by local governments in the region of the Three Gorges Dam project, 1997 and 1998, Chinese Sociology and Anthropology, 31 (3): 89-98.

Jackson, S. and Sleigh A., 2000, Resettlement for China’s Three Gorges Dam: socio-economic impact and institutional tensions, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 33: 223-241.

Chinese Popular Press Coverage

Anon, February 2, 1998, Report on 3 Gorges Resettlement Project ,Xinhua News Agency.

Becker, J., August 20, 1996, Scholars ask Jiang to help save ancient sites at dam, South China Morning Post, 7.

O’Neill, M., November 4, 1997, Dam ‘may lead to death and rebellion’, South China Morning Post, 12.

Anon, November 9, 1997, Renmin Ribao on Chang Jiang dam success, Xinhua News Agency.

Anon, November 12, 1998, Economists on 3 Gorges project’s benefits, Xinhua News Agency.

Anon, August 27, 1998, Three Gorges project may have saved flood victims, experts say, Xinhua News Agency.

Anon, September 15, 1998, Flood of answers, South China Morning Post, 16.

Anon, December 24, 1998, Chinese farmers doing better after moving from dam site, Xinhua News Agency.

Anon, December 30, 1998, Premier stresses engineering quality for Three Gorges Dam, Xinhua News Agency.

Anon, January 27, 1999, Officials punished for graft in Three Gorges relocation effort, Xinhua News Agency.

Becker, J., February 14, 1999, Dam cadres ‘steal $217 m,’ South China Morning Post, 1.

Lin, J., May 15, 1999, History lost to Yangtze damming, South China Morning Post, as found on International Rivers Network, <>, retrieved April 4, 2002.

Kwan, D., May 21, 1999, Dam plan to move 500,000 on track, South China Morning Post, 7.

Anon, May 23, 1999, Zhu on Three Gorges relocation, Xinhua News Agency.

Anon, May 27, 1999, Zhu breaches silence on Three Gorges Dam failures, South China Morning Post, 10.

Anon, May 3, 2000, Three Gorges should be delayed, experts warn, South China Morning Post, 9.

Becker, J., September 29, 2000, Anger at dam corruption growing, South China Morning Post, 9.

Becker, J., October 26, 2000, Dam project graft figure ‘exaggerated,’ South China Morning Post, 9.

Anon, January 3, 2001, Three Gorges museum under construction, People’s Daily.

Li, Clara, January 17, 2001, Officials admit a third unhappy with dam move, South China Morning Post, 8.

Becker, J., February 17, 2001, Doubt cast on Three Gorges claims, South China Morning Post, 7.

Anon, March 8, 2001, Three Gorges area to handle pollutant treatment, People’s Daily.

Becker, J., March 21, 2001, Three Gorges petitioners ‘held by police,’ South China Morning Post, 8.

Becker, J., April 21, 2001, Lengthy sentences feared for outspoken farmers, South China Morning Post, 9.

Anon, July 8, 2001, Environment well protected at Three Gorges Dam area, People’s Daily.

Anon, August 28, 2001, Three Gorges project causes no ecological catastrophe, People’s Daily.

Anon, November 30, 2001, Water pollution in Three Gorges Dam warned, People’s Daily.

Chan, V. P-K. March 15, 2002, Massive dam relocation on target, South China Morning Post, 7.

Western Popular Press Coverage

Eckholm, E., January 20, 1986, Giant dam in China seen as a dream or nightmare, The New York Times, A14.

Gittings, J., May 14, 1993, Peasants in the path of power, The Guardian (London), 18.

Tempest, R., February 6, 1995, Deng’s failing health gives boost to huge dam project, Los Angeles Times, A1.

Aschenbach, J., February 27, 1994, Dam-building fervor wanes in U.S. but picks up steam in third world, Los Angeles Times, A27.

Tefft, S., May 11, 1994, Banned from media, critics assail human impact of dam, Christian Science Monitor, 13.

Tyler, P. E., January 15, 1996, The next wonder: A special report, The New York Times, A1.

Grimes, C., March 4, 1996, Illinois companies win support on China deal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5B.

Cushman, J. H., May 30, 1996, Ex-Im Bank refuses loan backing for big China dam, The New York Times, D1.

Hoh E, July, 1996, China's Three Gorges Dam will soon transform the Yangtze, Natural History, 105 (7): 29-35.

Winchester, S., October 9, 1996, Flood deaths and other fables, Los Angeles Times, B9.

Langfitt, F., November 9, 1997, China diverts Yangtze’s course, The Sun (Baltimore), 1A.

Poole, T., July 21, 1998, Millions stranded by rising Yangtze, The Independent (London), 12.

Anon, March 18, 1999, Chinese dam is flooded with bad press, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland), 6A.

Harding, J., June 8, 1999, Three Gorges work ‘shoddy,’ Financial Times (London), 4.

Anon, November 20, 1999, Water power in Asia, The Economist.

Chu, H., May 5, 2000, Corruption charges again rock dam project, Los Angeles Times, A1.

Ni, C-C., September 23, 2000, China’s uprooted peasants find life in ‘city’ is awash in difficulty, Los Angeles Times, A1.

Pomfret, J., January 7, 2001, China’s giant dam faces huge problems, The Washington Post, A1.

Spotts, P. N., April 12, 2001, It could get hotter in Japan thanks to Three Gorges Dam, The Christian Science Monitor, 14.

Highfield, R., April 14, 2001, Dam ‘will alter climate,’ The Daily Telegraph (London), 19.

Ni, C-C., August 13, 2001, Holdouts before the deluge, Los Angeles Times, A1.

August, O., August 31, 2001, Displaced Chinese riot over Yangtze dam corruption, The Times (London).

Rennie, D., March 9, 2002, Three Gorges Dam a ‘toxic time bomb,’ The Daily Telegraph (London).

Waldron, A., March 21, 2002, China’s economic façade, The Washington Post, A35.


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