Another Hong Kong Government donation was announced yesterday to help the victims of China's massive flooding. Meanwhile, on the mainland, now that the water has finally stopped rising, attention has started to switch to how to prevent such disastrous floods from ever happening again. For years, the controversial Three Gorges Dam was touted as a sure-fire solution. Widespread opposition, which even included one-third of National People's Congress delegates refusing to approve this hugely-expensive project, was overridden on the grounds the dam would be a permanent solution to central China's flooding problems. But now the project is no longer seen as such a cure-all. It would have done little to prevent this year's floods, two-thirds of which came from smaller rivers that will not be blocked by the dam. And its construction may even have exacerbated the problem, by diverting funds away from repairing dykes and combatting soil erosion, which would have been of far more benefit. So the Three Gorges has been scarcely mentioned as an answer to the worst floods the mainland has experienced in several decades. Instead the Chinese leadership is now putting forward a new solution in the shape of a ban on logging and a massive tree-planting programme to replace forests cut down in recent years, so providing better protection against future floods. Prime Minister Zhu Rongji has been touring affected areas in recent days, warning of the harsh penalties to be given to illegal loggers. This change of emphasis, away from the environmentally-destructive Three Gorges project towards an anti-deforestation campaign, may boost China's fledgling green movement. It might even pave the way for progress on other environmental issues, such as air pollution, where action is desperately needed. But there is a danger in Beijing's portrayal of more trees as a cure-all. Mr Zhu's replanting programme is unrealistically optimistic: with all forests destroyed in the last four years supposedly being replaced before the year 2000. Nor has it been explained how Chinese industry will cope with the wood shortfall once so much logging is halted. While this new-found environmental awareness is welcome, it is no more of a complete solution than the Three Gorges was. So Beijing must continue the search for additional methods to control future flooding.