Dec 23, 2013 04:24 PM

Learning the Wrong Lessons from the Three Gorges Dam

To subdue the waters was a dream that eluded Chinese emperors. Early schemes to build a dam in the Republican period came to naught amid war and chaos. For Mao Zedong, the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River was the kind of titanic struggle he relished. He intended to rule the rivers and to send electricity to the cities of a thriving proletariat. The task was left to his successors, principally Li Peng, a dedicated Leninist and hydroelectric engineer who was prime minister from 1988 to 1998.

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