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Announcing the Salween Watch Newsletter
Salween Under Threat

Welcome to the first Salween Watch Newsletter! We hope that by reading this, you will be moved to take action to protect this majestic river, and help the people whose lives are threatened by ill- conceived plans to obstruct its free flow with dams and hydro power development. The Salween River, one of the great rivers of Southeast Asia, is under threat. The governments of the Salween countries- Burma, Thailand and China-have been pushing forward with plans to dam this still free-flowing river. Plans include both exploitation of hydro power potential and diversion of water to Thailand. A series of large dams along the course of the river in Yunnan, southern China and the eastern states of Burma are being considered.   More ...   Click here to Download the August 2007 issue or write here to request a current hardcopy: salweenwatch@gmail.com (Salween Watch, Nov 23, 2007)
http://www.salweenwatch.org/


500 Students Cross Major River on a Steel Cable

Nearly 500 school children in Fugong, Yunnan Province, China have to cross the often raging Nujiang River each day to get to school. The only problem is that there is no bridge. In order to cross the river, the children have to take the journey via a single steel cable stretched across the canyon. Children as young as 4 years old have to transverse the river by themselves each day. The children fasten themselves to the cable with a carabiner and a rope to slide over the 200 meter wide canyon. Occasionally children get stuck in the middle of the cable and have to wait up to half an hour in order to be rescued. More ... (Fugong, Yunnan Province, China. September 20, 2007)
http://www.weirdasianews.com/2007/09/20/500-students-cross-major-river-on-a-steel-cable/


Activists Believe Thailand Continues Involvement With Salween Dam Projects

A report that Thailand is not looking to Burma for energy needs is receiving skeptical reactions from Salween Watch activists, who assert that companies from Thailand have already signed agreements with Burma for the joint development of a 7,110 MW dam at Tasang, which carries grave implications for peoples of Shan State. More ... (Shan Harold Agency for News, 22 June 2007)
http://www.shanland.org/environment/2007/activists-believe-thailand-continues-involvement-with-salween-dam-projects/


Big hydro in the red
the drive for DE-friendly reform in China

Centralized planning has delivered a series of large, centralized hydro electric energy projects to China, many of which have proved to be a serious mismatch to the power problems they were meant to solve. Here, Grainne Ryder argues that consumer-oriented markets ought to guide investment decisions in the future, and that these would aid decentralized energy projects. More... (Grainne Ryder, Cogeneration and On-Site Power Production, May 10, 2006)
http://www.probeinternational.org/probeint/images/Cospp_06-3_Ryder.pdf
  cached


Seeking a Public Voice on China's 'Angry River'

XIAOSHABA, China - Far from the pulsing cities that symbolize modern China, this tiny hillside village of crude peasant houses seems disconnected from this century and the last. But follow a dirt path past a snarling watchdog, sidestep the chickens and ducks, and a small clearing on the banks of the Nu River reveals a dusty slab of concrete lying in a rotting pumpkin patch. The innocuous concrete block is also a symbol, of a struggle over law that touches every corner of the country. The block marks the spot on the Nu River where officials here in Yunnan Province want to begin building one of the biggest dam projects in the world. The project would produce more electricity than even the mighty Three Gorges Dam but would also threaten a region considered an ecological treasure. This village would be the first place to disappear. More... (By Jim Yardley, New York Times, Dec 16, 2005)
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/26/international/asia/26china.html?hp&ex=1135659600&en=36c17cb7e60e6c5f&ei=5094&partner=homepage  cached


Multiple Energy Sources for China

A senior official has called on China to develop multiple energy sources in rural areas in an apparent effort to ease over-reliance on coal to meet the country‘s huge demand for electricity, state media said. In the countryside, there are abundant resources of wind power, solar energy, methane power, geothermal energy and small-scale hydroelectric power, which can be effectively harnessed, Vice Minister of Water Resources Suo Lisheng was quoted by Xinhua news agency saying. More... (China.com, April 19, 2005)
http://english.china.com/zh_cn/business/energy/11025895/20050418/12249880.html


Crouching tiger, hidden power
Work preliminary to construction of dams along the Nu is quietly underway.

An outcry forced China to call a halt to construction on a massive power project that would have flooded some of the world's most beautiful gorges, but work is quietly proceeding. Hamish McDonald reports... Last November it was announced that public hearings would be held this year into the Liuku dam on the Nu River... So far, however, the public hearings have not been listed... In Yunnan province, ethnic communities are only vaguely aware of projects being announced in the capital, Kunming, and critically short of the expert advice that could give them proper voice in any hearings... As of this month, at the National People's Congress in Beijing, the Minister of Water Resources, Wang Shucheng, said four dams would go ahead, starting with the Liuku project. (Fairfax Digital, Sydney Morning Herald, March 26, 2005)
http://smh.com.au/news/World/Crouching-tiger-hidden-power/2005/03/25/1111692627792.html?oneclick=true   cached


Revised plan for dam project

The central government will allow some of the 13 dams in the controversial Nujiang hydroelectric project in Yunnan province to be built. But it will put the remainder on hold for at least a year until a revised plan is completed, said Minister of Water Resources Wang Shucheng. ... 'The construction of one to two dams which have less impact on the environment will begin first,' Mr Wang said. More... (South China Morning Post, March 6 2005)
http://www.scmp.com/ (see archive)


Hydroelectric power's dirty secret revealed

Hydropower Polluters
CONTRARY to popular belief, hydroelectric power can seriously damage the climate. Proposed changes to the way countries' climate budgets are calculated aim to take greenhouse gas emissions from hydropower reservoirs into account, but some experts worry that they will not go far enough. The green image of hydro power as a benign alternative to fossil fuels is false, says Éric Duchemin, a consultant for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). "Everyone thinks hydro is very clean, but this is not the case," he says. More ... (New Scientist, 26 Feb 2005)
http://www.newscientist.com/channel/earth/mg18524884.100 alt: http://www.energybulletin.net/4500.html


Chinese Project Pits Environmentalists Against Development Plans

Beijing. A major dam project suspended last year by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao is now the focus of a bureaucratic fight between pro-development advocates pushing to restart the project and environmentalists who want public hearings and further research.... The original project called for a 13-stage dam on the Nu River, which flows through a remote, pristine region in western China that is designated as a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Last spring, Mr. Wen unexpectedly halted the project for further study of possible environmental damage, a decision that led to speculation in the Chinese news media that the project was dead. But in recent months, new accounts in Chinese newspapers have suggested that the project may be restarted in some form. Witnesses have reported that some ancillary construction work is under way beside the Nu near the city of Liuku, a site planned for one of the dams. More... (New York Times, Jan 2, 2005)
http://forests.org/articles/reader.asp?linkid=37844


More controversy surrounds Nu River hydropower project

Shanghai. On November 13, experts were invited by the
National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) to a consultative conference on the environmental impact of the planned Nu River hydropower project, an expert from China's Academy of Social Sciences, who had taken part in the field survey for the project, told Interfax. However, the authorities seem to be reluctant to release the findings of the study....

The trade-off between economic growth and environmental protection is nowhere more stark than on the Nu River in western Yunnan Province, also known as the Salween. The river, winding through a gorge that stretches more than 100 km, is said to be the only untouched waterway remaining in China, and is home to thousands of rare indigenous plants and butterflies, as well as a number of ethnic minority farming communities scattered along the banks....
(Interfax-China, December 6, 2004) http://my.reset.jp/~adachihayao/041207L.htm


Public voices should be heard over dam

Ge Quanxiao felt a little relieved as he returned from a United Nations forum on hydropower and sustainable development in Beijing in late October. Ge, a villager from the Wuzhu Village of Jinsha Township in Southwest China's Yunnan Province, was invited to speak about his concerns over the construction of a proposed hydropower station near his hometown, together with four other immigrants from dam areas in the province..... (By Qin Chuan, China Daily, November 12, 2004)
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-11/12/content_390927.htm


Tribunals to be held for controversial projects

Shanghai. (Interfax-China) - The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) has announced that by the end of this year or the beginning of the next, a system will be in place to allow residents and other parties into the decision-making process for large-scale and controversial projects. Pan Yue, the deputy head of SEPA, told the seventh "Environmental Good News" Awards ceremony that tribunals would be held before construction was launched on a project.... (Interfax-China Ltd., November 12, 2004)
http://www.interfax.com/com?id=5769698&item=Chin


Drung Nationality Residents Drive Scott Lindgren Productions Film Crew & Kayakers from the Dulong Rriver Valley of China

Earlier this week, 6 kayakers led by Scott Lindgren, videographer and kayaker of Auburn, California USA were caught, sneaking into Dulong River Valley.... The Americans were attempting to pull off an unauthorized, unpermitted, and unpaid for First Descent and kayak movie, conservatively worth $80,000 to this poverty level non-Chinese Nationality.... (by White Pearl, Esquire, Consultant to Nu, Drung, Lisu Minority Nations of People's Republic of China, November 12, 2004)
http://www.chinarivers.com/NYT%20Article/ChickenPoxGang.html


China's Xiaowan hydroelectric power station succeeds in damming river

China's top project for western development, the Xiaowan Hydroelectric Power Station, has dammed the Lancang River a year ahead of schedule after three years of all-out, arduous efforts. The hydropower station, second in size in China only to the Three Gorges Power Project, then announced to start the construction of a 292-meter-high, concrete hyperbolic arch dam, the highest of the world.... (Xinhua News Agency, October 28, 2004)
http://www.karen.org/news2/messages/244.html


China, Thailand join forces on Yunnan power projects

China and Thailand have announced a joint venture to build and operate two power stations on the Lancang-Mekong River. China will hold 75 percent of the stake. According to sources with the Yunnan provincial power department, China Huaneng Group and GMS Co. of Thailand will pool capital to build the Jinghong and Nuozhadu power stations on the Lancang River, which connects China by water to five southeast Asian countries... (People's Daily Online, July 17, 2004)
http://english.people.com.cn/200407/17/eng20040717_149929.html


China's dams put Mekong on knife's edge, says researcher
[This could also be the future of the Nujiang]

SINGAPORE -- China's damming of the Mekong River to help power its economy could pose a grave threat within a decade to the livelihoods of millions of Southeast Asian farmers and fishers, an Australian researcher said on Tuesday... (Reuters, Environmental News Network, June 30, 2004)
www.enn.com/news/2004-06-30/s_25393.asp


Forests should be preserved to control flooding
Premier Wen urged to save northern Burma forests

Encouraged by his intervention in February to suspend the construction of dams on the Nu, known in Burma as the Salween, environmentalists have called on China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao yesterday to "act now to save" the forest region known as N'Mai Hku, in Burma's northernmost Kachin State.... (Shan Herald Agency for News, June 25, 2004)
http://www.shanland.org/Environment/News_2004/Premier_Wen_urged_to_save_northern_Burma_forests.htm


Hydro in China - to be or not to be?

Was the Chinese prime minister's rejection of a proposal for a 13-dam cascade on the Salween river a sign of things to come for hydro in the country? Tim Sharp considers the evidence and concludes the Salween dams are unlikely to be needed for energy production but may be built for water storage purposes. (International Water Power and Dam Construction, 17 June 2004)
http://www.waterpowermagazine.com/story.asp?sectionCode=166&storyCode=2023557


Controversy surrounds Manwan Hydropower Station, but construction continues...

Despite all the controversies surrounding the Manwan Hydropower Station, constructed on the Lancang River (also known as the Mekong) running through southwestern China's Yunnan Province, the second phase of the station is still under construction.... According to Beijing Qingnian Bao (Beijing Youth Daily), the life span of the Manwan hydropower Station has now been shortened to around 20 years as a result of severe silt build-ups. The paper also notes that over 5,000 migrants relocated to give way for the construction of the Manwan Hydropower Station are living in desperate conditions because of the low level of compensation given to them... (Interfax-China Ltd., June 11, 2004.)
http://www.interfax.com/com?id=5731123&item=Chin


Dam builders damn Beijing's command

Despite Premier Wen Jiabao's February directive that work on the dam projects stop to allow an assessment of their potential impact, preparatory work on the Chinese part of the Salween, known there as Nu, had been going around the clock, reported South China Morning Post, Wednesday 19 May... (Shan Herald Agency for News, May 21, 2004)
www.shanland.org/Environment/News_2004/Dam_builders_damn.htm


Field Museum gives Parker/Gentry Award to Chinese conservationist

Prof. Yang Yuming, outspoken critic of damming Nu River in Southwestern China,
wins prestigious award


Field Museum gives its ninth annual Parker/Gentry Award to Yang Yuming, one China's foremost conservation advocates, on May 25. He is a leading opponent of building 13 massive dams on the Nu River in Southwestern China that was set to begin this year. The Nu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of two major Chinese rivers not yet dammed. It runs through China's "Grand Canyon" and some of the world's most biodiverse regions... (EurekAlert, May 18, 2004)
www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-05/fm-fmg051704.php


The Battle of the Dambusters - Saving China's Virgin Rivers

A group of Chinese environmentalists are struggling to stop the damming of Nujiang, or the Salween as it is known after it flows out of Yunnan in southwestern China to Myanmar... (Shanghai Daily, May 3, 2004)
english.eastday.com/epublish/gb/paper1/1256/class000100006/hwz193248.htm


Killing Nujiang hydro project the right move

It has been confirmed that the State Council has quashed the hydropower project on the Nujiang River, which had already been given the go-ahead by the State Development and Reform Commission. Many people have voiced their support to the State Council's action... (China Daily, April 29, 2004)
www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-04/29/content_327159.htm


"No conclusion drawn" regarding dams on Nu River

"There has been no conclusion drawn regarding the dams on the Nu River," a source with the China Huadian Corporation told Interfax. He was reacting to a story published by the Hong Kong-based newspaper, Ming Pao, which revealed that Premier Wen Jiabao's had intervened to put a stop to the hydropower projects on the river, known as China's "Lost Eden"... (Interfax, April 14, 2004)
www.interfax.com/com?item=Chin&pg=0&id=5712684&req=" alt: http://www.threegorgesprobe.org/tgp/index.cfm?DSP=content&ContentID=10102


Dam project on pristine river halted

China's premier, Wen Jiabao, has halted plans for a huge dam system in the country's most spectacular canyon, it was reported yesterday. ... The reprieve for the pristine Nu river - one of only two major waterways left undammed in China - may prove temporary, however, as few details have been made public about Beijing's change of tack. But even a slight hesitation will encourage environmentalists who have been urging the government to consider the impact on nature of its drive for new energy resources... (The Guardian (UK), April 10, 2004)
www.guardian.co.uk/china/story/0,7369,1189384,00.html


China's Premier Orders Halt to a Dam Project Threatening a Lost Eden

BEIJING, April 8 — Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has unexpectedly suspended plans for a massive dam system on the Nu River in western China that scientists have warned could ruin one of the country's last unspoiled places, according to news reports in China and Hong Kong... (New York Times, April 9, 2004)
www.nytimes.com/2004/04/09/international/asia/09DAMS.html alt: http://www.pacificvillage.org/villagevoices/derryfield/archives/000218.html


Dam activists win first round

Apparently in response to the anti-dam activists' efforts that had drawn so much media attention in China, Premier Wen Jia-bao has issued on order scrapping the controversial dam project on the Nujiang, known in Thailand and Burma as Salween, reported Hong Kong-based papers, Ta Kung Pao (1 April) and Ming Pao (2 April)... (Shan Herald Agency for News, April 3, 2004)
www.shanland.org/Environment/News_2004/dam_activists_win_first_round.htm


Nujiang River region enthralls travellers (Tourism)

From its headwaters on the southern slope of Tanggula Mountain on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the Nujiang River runs through one of China's most remote areas, where it has carved canyons through the rugged mountain ranges east of the Himalayas... The river runs through gorges unlike any others in the country, moving many to call it "the Grand Canyon of the Orient." (China Daily, March 30, 2004)
www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-03/30/content_319186.htm


Gorgeous people of Nujiang Gorge (Minorities)

Located in Southwest China's Yunnan Province, Nujiang Gorge is a mysterious area rich in ethnic culture. At the foot of the steep Jianshan and Tuanshan mountains, this 316-kilometre-long river suddenly changes its course and flows as waterfalls over the cliffs. It is in this region that the Lisu minority celebrate their various festivals... (Xinhuanet, March 30, 2004)
news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-03/30/content_1391527.htm


Let the Salween flow

When Hseng Kham visited the Upper Salween in China last February, she discovered that at least one aspect of life was common to both the villagers there and in Shan State - decision makers for the dams don't consult their own citizens about the projects... (Shan Herald Agency for News, March 21, 2004)
www.shanland.org/Environment/News_2004/let_the_salween_flow.htm


Dam on China's Salween goes for it

According to a translated report from China News Service, the Liuku dam, the first on the mainstream Nu, is going to be built in the first half of 2004. The news had come right out of the National People's Congress being held in Beijing... (Shan Herald Agency for News, March 11, 2004)
www.shanland.org/Environment/News_2004/dam_on_china.htm


Dam Building Threatens China's 'Grand Canyon'

The highest villages in the mountains above the Nu River seem to hang in the air. Farmers grow cabbage and corn nearly a quarter-mile up, as if cultivating ski slopes. Necessity has pushed them into the sky; land is precious along the river... (New York Times, March 10, 2004)
www.nytimes.com/2004/03/10/international/asia/10RIVE.html (Cached) alt: http://forests.org/articles/reader.asp?linkid=30078


UN agency hits China over dams

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation voiced concern over China's plans to build 13 large hydroelectric dams on the Salween river, according to the Shan state's independent news agency... (The Nation (Thailand), March 2, 2004)
www.nationmultimedia.com/page.arcview.php3?clid=4&id=94555&date=2004-03-02&usrsess=1


Thai groups battle new China dam

China's blueprint for its latest power project is meeting stiff resistance from outside its own borders - in Thailand and in Burma... (BBC News Online, January 19, 2004)
news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3402389.stm


Nu River (Upper Salween in China) Dam Debate

The heated debate in Chinese media on Nu River dam plan has once again slowed down the dam builders' schedule. More and more people, including experts, academics, government officials and residents, are involved in the debate... (Xinhua News Agency, Jan 8, 2004)
www.yn.xinhuanet.com/topic/2004/njkf/index.htm (Chinese)


Waterworks evoke debate

Heated discussion is raging among researchers and scholars over the potential losses and gains from constructing dams and related projects in the nation's western areas. In the following reports, China Daily reporter CHEN LIANG reveals the events leading to the dialogue... (China Daily, December 20, 2003)
www.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2003-12/20/content_291989.htm


China Adds Three More Sites to World Heritage List

World Heritage Committee now counts the area of the confluence of three major rivers in southwest China's Yunnan Province on the list of natural heritage. The area where the Nujiang, Lancang and Jinsha rivers meet, covers about 41,000 square kilometers in Yunnan Province and stretches to the south of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It is famous for its peculiar physiognomy and biological diversity.... (People's Daily Online, Sunday, July 06, 2003)
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200307/06/eng20030706_119513.shtml