Three Gorges problems denied

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 March, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 March, 1998, 12:00am

AN official in charge of resettling people displaced by the huge Three Gorges Dam yesterday denied a report that found serious problems in the resettlement programme.

Gan Yuping, a vice-mayor of Chongqing Municipality, said he had not read the Chinese sociologist's report, but it 'has no basis in fact'.

Released last week by the environmental lobbyist International Rivers Network and the New York-based Human Rights in China, the report said the planned resettlement of 1.2 million people was faltering due to widespread popular resistance, official deception and corruption.

Most of those to be resettled come from Chongqing, in the southwest. Mr Gan, who handles resettlement issues for the municipality, said 80,000 people had been moved from the dam area so far, and Chongqing aimed to move another 67,000 this year.

Because some parts of the dam area had a limited capacity to absorb migrants, some people were being found jobs in other parts of the mainland, Mr Gan said.

Generally, once resettled, people's 'living standards are quite good, higher than before they moved', Mr Gan said on the sidelines of the NPC annual session.

The area had much surplus labour, while other more developed parts of China needed workers, 'so it is normal to have labour migration', he said.

But China Daily said yesterday that plans to move people from the dam area to Heilongjiang province in the northeast and Xinjiang in the far west were meeting popular resistance.