China stops dam construction
By Richard High17 June 2009
China's Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) has suspended construction of two dams on the Upper Yangtze River in the southwest of the country.
The two dams on the Jinsha River (River of Golden Sands), the name given to a 2300 km-long section of the Yangtze, had started without an environmental assessment or approval from the MEP, according to officials quoted by state news agencies.
The dams are part of an estimated CNY 200 billion (US$ 30 billion) project to construct 12 hydro-electric power (HEP) stations along the Jinsha River, which flows from the northern Qinghai province to Yunnan and Sichuan provinces.
Environmentalists and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), including US-based International Rivers, have criticised the projects saying they would damage the region's environment and biodiversity.
"To protect the management of the environment ... and to punish the violation of the environment and illegal acts regarding the environment, the environmental ministry decided to suspend the construction projects in the middle reaches of the Jinsha River," said an MEP statement.