From Fri Mar 30 07:54:36 2001
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2001 19:52:54 -0600 (CST)
From: Mark Graffis <>
Subject: Chinese expert says new resettlement rules won't solve Three Gorges' problems
Article: 117536 To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Chinese expert says new resettlement rules won't solve Three Gorges' problems

Probe International, Thursday 29 March 2001

Civil strife and corruption will continue to plague world's largest civil works project, predicts respected sociologist Dr. Wei Yi.

Failure of new regulations to deal with fake migrants could become explosive problem, says Dr. Wei.

Chinese resettlement expert Wei Yi has warned that new regulations governing the relocation of more than one million people whose homes will be flooded by the Three Gorges dam are likely to fail.

The new regulations, drafted over the past two years, and approved by the State Council last month, were introduced in an attempt to rid the world's largest civil works project of corruption and to quell civil strife over forced resettlement. Dr. Wei, who writes under a pseudonym for fear of government reprisals, argues that the new regulations inadequately deal with the serious problems afflicting the Three Gorges dam.

Dr. Wei first stunned the world in February 1999 when he published a critical review of the Three Gorges resettlement operation in a Beijing-based think-tank journal of state policies, called Strategy and Management. His article received world-wide press coverage.

While the new regulations show that dam officials have learned some lessons from their past resettlement mistakes, serious problems remain unresolved, Dr. Wei says.

The new regulations, for example, fail to eliminate the problem of fake migrants—people who through corruption and cronyism, manage to claim limited resettlement funds even though their homes and businesses are not being flooded by the dam's reservoir.

The growing resentment by legitimate resettlers against fake migrants will become an explosive problem in future, warns Dr. Wei.

The new regulations also fail to address the coercive techniques now being used by frantic local officials to clear their areas of occupants in time for the 2003 filling of the reservoir. Three Gorges Probe reported last week that leaders of disgruntled Three Gorges migrants have been arrested and their whereabouts are unknown.

As for ridding the Three Gorges project of corruption, which has become epidemic, Dr. Wei congratulates the government for trying to deal with the problem, but condemns the means. The new regulations rely on traditional administrative measures rather than by improving the legal system, and allowing press scrutiny and public oversight. Without appropriate decentralization of power, and without transparency and democracy in resettlement policy decision-making and the use of relocation funds, more problems with the management of resettlement funds will be unavoidable, he warns.

For related articles see:

A complete english translation of Dr. Wei's Comments on the revised Resettlement rules and regulations of the Three Gorges dam.

A reprint of Dr. Wei's article in Strategy and Management, Major problems and hidden troubles in the relocation of Three Gorges Project, May 1999.

Three Gorges dam petitioners abducted, Three Gorges Probe: March 23, 2001.

For more information, contact Patricia Adams
Publisher Probe International
(416) 964-9223 Web site: