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By Bryan Tilt

China is domestic to 1/2 the world's huge dams and provides dozens extra every year. the advantages are enormous: dams bring hydropower, supply trustworthy irrigation water, shield humans and farmland opposed to flooding, and bring hydroelectricity in a state with a seeimingly insatiable urge for food for strength. As hydropower responds to a bigger percentage of strength call for, dams will help to minimize the intake of fossil fuels, welcome information in a rustic the place air and water toxins became dire and greenhouse fuel emissions are the top on this planet.

Yet the benefits of dams come at a excessive fee for river ecosystems and for the social and fiscal health of local community, who face displacement and farmland loss. This booklet examines the array of water-management judgements confronted through chinese language leaders and their outcomes for neighborhood groups. concentrating on the southwestern province of Yunnan―a significant hub for hydropower improvement in China―which encompasses one of many world's so much biodiverse temperate ecosystems and considered one of China's such a lot ethnically and culturally wealthy areas, Bryan Tilt takes the reader from the halls of decision-making strength in Beijing to Yunnan's rural villages. within the strategy, he examines the contrasting values of presidency enterprises, hydropower organizations, NGOs, and native groups and explores how those values are associated with longstanding cultural norms approximately what's correct, right, and simply. He additionally considers some of the recommendations those teams use to steer water-resource coverage, together with advocacy, petitioning, and public protest. Drawing on a decade of analysis, he bargains his insights on even if the world's so much populous kingdom will undertake higher transparency, elevated clinical collaboration, and broader public participation because it keeps to develop economically.

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Extra resources for Dams and Development in China : The Moral Economy of Water and Power

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Tibet, for example, is recognized as a provincial-level autonomous region (zizhi qu), but the potential for a secessionist movement causes the central government to keep a tight rein on the region. 4 Fei Xiaotong conducted much of his pathbreaking research on rural Chinese society in Yunnan. In a series of case studies published with his student Zhang Zhiyi, he commented that Yunnan “is not very accessible from the central provinces; and, since distance breeds suspicion, only yesterday the age-old belief was still current that Yunnan was a wild region overrun with beastlike aborigines” (Fei and Zhang 1945:7).

Although pollution may be a daily fact of life for most Chinese citizens, the economic impetus comes largely from consumer demand in countries with a much higher standard of living. It is a global problem driven by the externalization of environmental costs from Western countries to developing nations, including China. Finally, the distribution of energy consumption, both in geographic terms and in socioeconomic terms, is highly uneven. These days the standard of living in cosmopolitan cities such as Beijing and Shanghai is not appreciably different from that in New York or London.

Both of these tools hinge upon a notion of individual rights, which calls for a consideration of the legal, political, and cultural barriers to a rightsbased framework in China. I consider evidence from the Lancang dam projects that shows a trajectory of improvement in the implementation of resettlement and compensation policies over recent decades. I widen the analytical lens of the book in chapter 7 to consider two global processes related to hydropower development: first, the increasingly important role of international NGOs operating in China, which advocate for environmental conservation and cultural preservation in Yunnan; and, second, the growing role of Chinese government agencies and corporations in providing financial and technical assistance to dam projects in the developing world, especially Africa and Southeast Asia.

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