The organization and planning of the dam that should address the engineering problems has been fraught with corruption and embezzlement. The head official of the Three Gorges Economic Development Corporation embezzled US$125 million. Resettlement officials embezzled about $57.7 million, roughly 12% of the total resettlement budget. Jin Wenchao, a senior official, siphoned off more than one billion yuan of state funds and went missing.
Though there are some in China who know what is being lost, they are few. The government controlled media has given little voice to the international protests, and published reports such as "Huge Investment in Three Gorges to Pay off," (06/02/03) "People Are Better Off in Three Gorges Resettlement," "Three Gorges Dam under Smooth Construction," and "Three Gorges Dam Will Improve Climate, Citrus Production." Political leadership and intelligentsia apprear to be the only ones informed on the effects of the project, and they are not supportive. In 1986, a feasibility study was ordered and though many feared not signing off on a project that was already approved, Ecologist Hou Xueyu was among the few who refused to sign the environmental report because it falsely hyped the environmental benefits provided by the dam, failed to convey the real extent of environmental impact, and lacked adequate solutions to environmental concerns. When Li Peng pushed the project through the National People's Congress in 1992, there were no votes or abstentions from a third of the delegates--such actions were unprecedented from a body that usually rubberstamped all government proposals. Still a crowd of 5,000 showed up for the celebration marking the start of construction in 1997, and the project goes forward.
"This is the biggest project China has undertaken since it began the Great Wall. The Great Wall was totally obsolete before it was finished. The only other comparable project in Chinese history is the Grand Canal, which never functioned. It isn't a very good big project record."--Arthur Zich.