More Questions

And one more question. Why are people panic-mongering over the Three Gorges Dam all of a sudden? Is it catastrophic thinking triggered by COVID? Or is something really going on?

22 thoughts on “More Questions”

  1. “over the Three Gorges Dam all of a sudden”

    What I’ve gathered (FYI I have no idea how true it is). There has been heavier than usual rain for longer than usual and the dam is reaching capacity. They’ve been opening some floodgates and flooding cities and towns (with no notice).
    This is to prevent an even greater disaster if it breaks and floods an area where hundreds of millions of people live.

    The whole thing sounded like a sure disaster when they were building it (communists, giant infrastructure project… you know the story).

    At first the Communist party denied there was any problem (saying internet coverage had created an ‘illusion’ that something was wrong and later admitted some structural damage).


  2. It’s hard to tell what is really going on– China’s obviously not going to report on it, if it’s a real problem. But the flooding has been pretty catastrophic already: they’ve had to break open levees and deliberately flood lots of farmland in order to avoid flooding major urban areas, and also to alleviate stress on Three Gorges dam. Even if the dam is fine, the agricultural losses could be very bad for their food supply in the coming year.

    That said, even the Chinese official news has admitted some “leaking, cracking, and deformation” at Three Gorges, but says everything is totally safe and fine. One wonders what that means: how bad does it have to be, before they admit that anything at all is happening?

    Arguably, actions at the dam confirm that the Chinese are worried about its structural integrity. The dam was built to control flooding in the lower Yangtze, but lately they’ve been opening up the floodgates and letting so much water through, that it is flooding many areas downstream– and at the same time the reservoir behind the dam appears to be at lower-than-average capacity. Is this because they are expecting so much more rain upstream that they need to make room for it? Or because they are worried that any additional stress will cause a dam break?

    It is worth watching, because maybe it’s nothing, but… if it turns out to be NOT nothing, a dam break is likely to kill hundreds of millions of people, cause widespread famine, and cripple a lot of China’s manufacturing capacity– which would affect supply chains worldwide for everything from medical supplies to car parts to ceramic dishes.


      1. Thanks for posting these two links, they’re very good.

        “official state media” — South China Morning Post is a Hong Kong based English language newspaper and is not directly a CCP organ as it is currently owned and operated by the Alibaba Group. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s truly independent from Party control but American readers should be somewhat familiar with SCMP’s situation as at least 90% of U.S. big media similarly cannot be said to be truly independent from [Democratic] Party control. Asia Times is also Hong Kong based.

        Without doubt, flooding along the Yangtze River has been a very serious situation since June. Will Three Gorges collapse, smart money would say not likely but…

        “China’s obviously not going to report on it, if it’s a real problem…” — Respectfully, I disagree. There’s been a lot of concerned reporting in China in the last month on this crisis – there’s no hiding the rains and the flooding they have caused. Our youngest daughter is from Jiangxi Province, one of the hardest hit, and so we have been following the story.

        “communists, giant infrastructure project… you know the story…” — China’s engineering technology is no Potemkin village. You’re very likely reading this post on a Chinese designed and built computer. From a standing start with one of the world’s most inefficient train systems at the beginning of the 21st century, China now has 25,000 km of high speed (200-350 km/h) passenger service, more than the rest of the world put together. The Chinese government confidently claims that the Three Gorges Dam has been engineered with many safeguards to withstand the strain, we’ll know soon enough.


    1. “Anything that could reduce the economic power of the Nazi germany of the 21st century is a good thing”

      Seriously, you would wish death and destruction on millions of souls just to prove a political point?


      1. I don’t wish that for the Chinese people, but anything that could reduce their economic power is a good thing right now.

        If you live in a democratic country, you’re an enemy for China. We are right now in a economic war with China. China is the Nazi Germany of the 21st century and COVID-19 should be a reminder of this for us.


          1. // I know many people who have received unsolicited seeds from China.

            On Monday Israeli Jews received unsolicited “infiltration attempt by Hezbollah when a cell of four advanced several meters into Israeli territory before fleeing back.”

            I’ve also received unsolicited rockets quite a few times. 🙂

            Seeds are tame in comparison and we don’t even know who sent them and for what purposes.

            I do understand it is unpleasant and would’ve been a tad frightened myself, but there probably isn’t covid-19 hidded among the seeds. 🙂


              1. I understand the seeds may actually be a “bushing” scam. Basically: you’re selling stuff online, you need a bunch of positive reviews before anyone will buy from you, so you create a bunch of fake accounts, run through a bunch of fake orders, and you need a shipping verification to convince amazon or whatever platform, that you actually shipped something. So you ship something cheap with a comparable weight and size, to the address you used for the fake account, and then leave a review for the “order”. And then a bunch of people wonder why they got packets of seeds in the mail…


        1. // I don’t wish that for the Chinese people, but anything that could reduce their economic power

          The book I am reading now shows Chinese society is anything but powerful.

          Their “economic power” is the ‘power’ to provide workers for exploitation for the West till the completely automated production returns to US.

          It was US choice to transfer production to China. If the latter disappeared from the world today, tomorrow US would find another country to be used for those purposes and proceed to complain of its ‘economic power’ in case of a crisis.


        2. “I don’t wish that for the Chinese people…”

          Really? Are you sure? Seems like you’re cheering for the collapse of Three Gorges because we’re their “enemy” and they’re “Nazis.” Oh, for the good old days when Mao was in charge and China was an impoverished, politically unstable, backwater.


            1. “…concentration camps for Uighurs”

              China is not a liberal democracy. And, it’s obviously been taking a regrettably more authoritarian turn during the last decade. But still, life is very significantly better now for hundreds of millions of people than it was in Maoist times. This means that the regime has significant internal political support and is in no danger of a chaotic collapse.

              There’s nothing to be gained from painting China as the “enemy.” They have deliverable nuclear weapons and the world’s largest standing army. In an emerging era of neo-protectionism in the international economy, some industrial production will be repatriated from China anyway. In the meantime, there’s nothing to be gained by engaging in hostile rhetoric against a rival Great Power. They will have to work out their own political future – all we can realistically do is keep our fingers crossed that reformers will soon again achieve ascendancy in China.


  3. The dam failing directly affects hundreds of millions of Chinese people downstream and billions of people elsewhere who depend on products manufactured in areas that would be affected, which makes the fate of the dam very newsworthy. There are strong political motives for the focus as well, since the poor perception of that dam undermines the Chinese Communist Party as well as Chinese institutions of all kinds, which is a priority for various governments at the moment.


  4. “Why are people panic-mongering over the Three Gorges Dam all of a sudden?”

    Because we’re in a new cold war and it includes psychological warfare.


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