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ENVIRONMENT

Mekong Dam Could Choke China’s Last Rainforest

A swath of tropical rainforest on the Xiaohei River in South China's Yunnan province has been cut down to make way for the Huilongshan Hydropower Station. Liang Yingfei/Caixin
A swath of tropical rainforest on the Xiaohei River in South China's Yunnan province has been cut down to make way for the Huilongshan Hydropower Station. Liang Yingfei/Caixin

“It’s like a haircut that has gone awry in the hands of an absent-minded barber.”

That’s how many locals described the environmental scars that have been left by construction of the Huilongshan Hydropower Station inside a tropical rainforest in southwestern China’s Yunnan province since October 2015.

Trees have been felled and vegetation cleared upstream along the Xiaohei River in Yunnan’s Xishuangbanna prefecture to make way for a dam, leaving what looks like an open wound in the once pristine rainforest. Xiaohei River feeds the Luosuo River, a major tributary of the Mekong River.

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