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May 22, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

YANGTZE! YANGTZE! by Dai Qing, edited by Patricia Adams & John Thibodeau translated from the Chinese by Nancy Liu, Wu Mei, Sun Yougeng & Zhang Xiaogang (Earthscan: $14.95; 295 pp., illustrated, paperback original). The ecologists, sociologists, geologists, economists and engineers represented in this important anthology argue against building the Three Gorges dam on the Yangtze River. The multibillion dollar structure would require the relocation of over 1 million people, inundate thousands of acres of productive agricultural land and destroy scenic and historic monuments. As the Yangtze carries the fourth highest load of sediment of any river in the world, silt and gravel would quickly foul the reservoir and hydroelectric plant. The authors of the various pieces assembled by journalist Dai Qing are not Westernized protesters, but people with long histories of national service. Although banned in China, "Yangtze! Yangtze!" pressured the State Council to postpone the project in 1989 (the government began accepting construction bids in January, 1994). This scrupulously documented translation provides American readers access to the first attempt to harness large-scale intellectual opposition to the governmental decision-making process in China.

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