China Floods, Dams, and Corruption

When it officially became fully functional on July 4, 2012, China hailed the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest power station with 22,500 megawatts of installed capacity as a resounding success. They pointed to it's modern, highly efficient turbines, it's ability to increase shipping capacity along the Yangtze River and the fact that it could help to prevent downstream flooding by freeing up flood storage space. Not only all of this, but it was a move towards limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Sounds great, but, there are two sides to every story and the negative consequences of this monumental project, which cost the country the equivalent of around 25 billion U.S. dollars have been described by many as catastrophic both in its human and environmental impacts. Over one million people were displaced and the dam flooded historically significant archeological and cultural sites. Entire ecosystems were permanently altered with rare plant and animal life being pushed to the brink of extinction. Experts warned that the increased pressure such a massive structure would create on the surrounding land would trigger massive landslides and an increased risk of earthquakes, and their eerie predictions seem to be coming true. We’ll break down the story behind what has become without a doubt one of the most controversial pieces of infrastructure ever built by humankind, The Three Gorges Dam.