China sweeps aside civilians in rush for hydropower

Discussion in 'China' started by Ray, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    China sweeps aside civilians in rush for hydropower

    European expertise is helping China expand its hydroelectric capacity on a scale that dwarfs similar global initiatives


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    Armed police patrol at the Three Gorges Dam, the huge hydropower project on the Yangtze river.

    The great grey wall cuts across the valley of the Jinsha river, a tributary of the Yangtze. Downstream from the dam, the yellow water gushes down the spillway from China's third most powerful hydroelectric plant. It races on past the city of Xiangjiaba, on the border between the Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, a featureless place with a maze of factories and chimneys built into the urban fabric. Its only claim to fame is the wall 200 metres high that now overshadows it.

    The structure, into which 14bn cubic metres of concrete have already been poured, is due to be completed next year. Fitted with an impressive boat lift, it will drive eight giant 800MW turbines, currently the largest in the world.

    Xiangjiaba is no match for the array of 32 turbines on the massive Three Gorges Dam, with installed capacity of 22,000MW. But it does confirm China's enthusiasm for hydroelectric facilities, including really big ones, regardless of the environmental cost – in climate disruption and landslides –and the number of people displaced to make way for the work. According to official figures, the Xiangjiaba structure entailed the departure of more than 100,000 people.

    On 28 September a new invitation to tender was published, for 16 1,000MW turbines, though it is not known for which dam they are intended. No single structure has ever delivered so much power.

    Following the publication of China's 12th five-year plan (2011-15), the state council set a goal for energy policy, including ambitious hydropower targets. The challenge of boosting renewable energy to a 15% share of the country's primary energy consumption depends largely on hydropower. The prime concern is to reduce pollution from coal-fired power stations, which is poisoning the atmosphere of Chinese cities. At present coal accounts for a much larger share of the energy mix than solar, wind or even nuclear power.

    Just doubling hydropower (from 190,000MW to 380,000MW) would give renewables a 10% overall share. In theory, on completion of this titanic effort, just over 70% of China's total hydropower potential would be exploited, according to the International Hydropower Association's (IHA) annual report published in April.

    Further upstream on the Jinsha another wall is going up at Xiluodu. With 13,600MW nameplate capacity, it will be substantially larger than Xiangjiaba.

    "Every year the Chinese increase their hydropower capacity by 15GW," says Yves Rannou, the head of the China division at Alstom, the French engineering firm, a figure the IHA confirms for 2012. This is an impressive achievement compared with new capacity being built in other parts of the world, apart from Asia: 1.9GW in North America, 1.8GW in South America, 0.5GW in Europe and 0.3GW in Africa. It should be borne in mind that France, for instance, has a total hydropower capacity of 25GW.

    Downstream from the Xiangjiaba dam, on its righthand side, a tunnel disappears into the rock face. It leads to a cavity like the nave of a cathedral, filled by a dull roar. Without waiting for the structure to be finished, the Jinsha is already driving four Alstom turbines and their generators. They were brought up the river on barges as far as a quay just below the dam.

    The four monsters, each weighing more than 2,000 tonnes, were manoeuvred into position by suitably gigantic cranes, mounted on tracks that run down to the riverside.

    On 17 September Alstom officially opened a new hydropower industrial site in Tianjin, north-east China. Airbus operates a large assembly unit on the same technology park. The engineering firm is keen to consolidate its position in this booming market. At the ceremony, CEO Patrick Kron predicted that between now and 2035 half of the world's new hydropower plants would be built in China, with south-east Asia accounting for 85% of the total. He added that hydropower was "clean, renewable and particularly easy to store".

    Though hydropower represents a relatively small share of Alstom's revenue (10%), growth on this scale justifies the €100m ($130m) investment the firm has made in China, in the larger context of cutbacks. "We need to streamline our operations. But we can do it, even in China, without adopting a strategy of retreat," Kron explained on the sidelines of the ceremony.

    The French firm is by no means the only one interested by the turbine and generator part of future hydropower plants. Its rivals Andritz and Voith, respectively from Austria and Germany, are also on the lookout for work. Voith markets integrated solutions comparable to Alstom's technology. It has a factory in Shanghai, originally built as part of a joint venture with Siemens and Shanghai Electric Corporation. Voith now owns an 80% share of the undertaking and is quick to point out that it equipped China's very first hydropower facility, at Shi Long Ba, in 1910.

    But foreign engineering firms have little room for manoeuvre. For example, Xiangjiaba's four other hydroelectric units have been produced in China. Two powerful firms, Harbin Electric and Dongfang Electric, which together claim a 40% share of Chinese-installed capacity (as against 20% for Alstom) have become serious competitors, after learning the trade from foreign partners. Asked to compare the strengths and weaknesses of Chinese and French suppliers, the head of the China Three Gorges Corporation, which is operating the Xiangjiaba dam, Nie Yuanlong, smiled politely before noting that Alstom's prices were "slightly higher".

    Quality, a key selling point for both Voith and Alstom, may enable them to maintain a slight strategic lead over Harbin and Dongfang in the struggle to deliver increasingly powerful hydroelectric units. But with heavy industry in China plagued by surplus capacity, unlikely to improve if domestic growth slows, competition could well be increasingly fierce.

    China sweeps aside civilians in rush for hydropower | World news | Guardian Weekly

    ****************************************************************

    None can contest the requirement for hydroelectric power for any Nation.

    However, it is only in China that it can be done speedily, even at a huge human cost.

    In no ther country could replicate China's enthusiasm for hydroelectric facilities, including really big ones, regardless of the environmental cost – in climate disruption and landslides –and the number of people displaced to make way for the work and where according to official figures, the Xiangjiaba structure entailed the departure of more than 100,000 people.[/B]

    In India, most of the projects have come to a grinding halt because of the Environment Ministry and people mass agitations.

    India can never compete with China because China has the advantage to override any dissent or can ride roughshod to displace such huge numbers as 100,000 people!

    They, the Chinese, are lucky they have no Medha Patkars and that one book wonder Roy!
     
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  3. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    If the Chinese authorities are giving these citizens a better quality of life, then that's a good thing overall.
     
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  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    No quibbles on that.

    But if you were thrown out of your home, and that benefited others, I wonder if you would feel the same!

    Ask those who faced Partition, if they are still alive, their woes!
     
  5. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Tennessee Valley Authority Reclamation Project
     
  6. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Comparing the partition to a rehabilitation program for dam construction isn't justified, especially considering a country like China is four times to five times richer and their rural population is 50% smaller.

    The partition killed two million people. But in dam resettlement we are talking about a maximum of a million people being displaced but with a resettlement program planned at the same time and no one is killing each other in the process. Partition was an utter failure as a resettlement project.

    Most of China's projects come with World Bank support which has a capable resettlement policy. It is not perfect, but the central and state govts start providing some villages the incentive for the resettled families to urbanize faster rather than lead a subsistence life. The question is whether they adapt to such a life, or even a subsistence life, elsewhere without affecting their quality of life. But that is left to their individual prowess. It is not so different in India too.
     
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  7. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well, if their living standard was improved as the result of these project, I wonder if you can say that it only benefits others!

    I wonder if any indian or Pakistan officials ever provided a contract for those faced partition to gurantee their future jobs and homes!
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Ask those who were evicted.

    Have you stopped reading Chinese newspapers?

    Stopped realising the strikes when people are evicted in China, but because of the threat of being jailed the people then meekly go away?


    Are you comparing 14.5 million or so with the displacement being done in China?
     
  9. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    It is the issue of losing your home and hearth and not rehabilitation and starting from scratch.

    Ask them who were displaced.

    You may not have faced it and so you will not understand, but those whose families were displaced know how the families had to start from scratch, the struggle, the heartbreak.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  10. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I know the point you are making. I also know the importance of the point the other side is making too.

    IMHO, the other side is more justified regardless of the suffering of the unfortunate. Dams are simply far too important to be ignored and if people are in the way they will be moved.

    It is the same here, not just in China. We can give up on nuclear energy far easier than hydro-electric power. The moment there is progress on the river-linking project, which is bound to start eventually, the kind of displacement we will see in India will make the Chinese situation seem trivial. To be honest, the situation in India will be worse than what's in China due to the higher disparity in incomes.

    These people are not being killed off in the gulags. They are being given new homes and new places to farm. Some are given govt jobs, some get manufacturing jobs. Overall, some are able to cope with it, some are not. If you are sympathizing with them, then by all means. There are various NGOs working in India which deal with these matters. But if you want to protect their livelihood at the cost of bringing down the economy, then there is no justification in that. Dams will be built in huge numbers regardless of anybody liking it or not.

    http://www.cwc.nic.in/main/downloads/National Register of Large dams 2009.pdf

    We had less than 300 dams before independence. As of today we should have nearly 5000 dams and there should be hundreds more planned.

    So the debate should be centered more around how we can resettle the people without long term psychological effects. They are simply unable to cope with it psychologically. So many people immigrate to cities and live in harsher conditions than most of the resettled folk.
     
  11. drkrn

    drkrn Senior Member Senior Member

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    India,uttarakhand in specific did the same mistake without looking deep into the pros and cons of such move....at last heart aching uttarakhand floods killing atleast 10000

    hydro power is good but should never be at the expense of environment.uttarakhand govt is looking now into those aspects after paying a huge toll.

    wish china learns from indian mistakes in this aspect.



    looking at the chinese history of mobilizing its civilians,administration might not find it difficult to move them to new places.
     
  12. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    no population in India were relocated to build new dams?

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  13. drkrn

    drkrn Senior Member Senior Member

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    relocated with compensations paid
     
  14. Dovah

    Dovah Untermensch Senior Member

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    How were Uttarakhand floods related to the Tehri Dam? If anything, damns absorb the full fury of the floods. If there is a case against Hydel power, this is not it.
     
  15. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Rhetorical title of an otherwise positive development. PRC is building a dam that will eventually produce upto 8x800MW of energy. All I can say is well done to the Chinese. India will blither, and stare down at long delays and litigations regarding its own projects, while pontificating PRC and CPC, about their alleged human rights violations, and our "vibrant democracy."

    This thread is not about displacement of people for a dam, this thread is about displacement of people by the PRC government for a dam.

    Proves that we Indians are a bunch of blustering nincompoops. No wonder we have to entertain frequent PLA incursions along the frontiers.
     
  16. bennedose

    bennedose Senior Member Senior Member

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    If (by some remote chance) a Chinese felt that his quality of life was made worse by his having to be kicked out of his home/village and housed in glass fronted flats. What could he do?

    One could assume that Indians and Chinese are a different species and that Indians are fractious and the Chinese simply band together and 100,000 people simply agree that they should move out.

    However they are as human as each other and have similar likes, dislikes, joys and sorrows. So what recourse does a citizen have if he dislikes what the government is doing. I would like to see one poll or one interview of people who have been moved out saying that all is hunky dory. Of course I want electricity, but in a country that claims equality for all citizens, clearly some citizens are less equal than others. This accusation can be made of every country in the world - so why let off China lightly in this regard. China is, according to most reports, far worse than most countries in the way they coerce people and those people have no right to protest.

    I hear too many people saying "Do not underestimate China". How about a bit of honesty and not overestimating them and pointing out glaring issues as and when they do exist. In 30 years there will be more old men in China than any other country in the world because of the forced one-child policy. It will be interesting to see what sort of coercion will happen and who will coerce whom in China.

    If one looks at what the tinpot politburo is doing - it is perfectly logical and not at all surprising. But it is also not right. Over the last 30 to 40 years the communist power brokers have a well thought out plan to simply employ China's huge population to work, become "prosperous", build cities, roads and railways and shift people from villages into prefabricated cities. By itself the idea sounds good because the Chinese too bought the idea that what is "western" is good. They rejected their own culture and past to copy the west and fast forward their country to achieve western ideals of standards of prosperity. An important part of the fast-forwarding was forcibly reducing population growth rate by a one child policy as well as strict coercive rules about migration, travel and settlement within China.

    All this has made what is visible of China (what the Chinese want everyone to see) a shiny westernized nation., Since the west have always claimed that their model is the best, they have no way of arguing and saying that China is not good by catching up with western styles of living. China is trying to copy and catch up with the US in every visible parameter, but it is the invisibles that make the difference. China is now competing for resources with the west and the west can be said to be facing serious competition for the first time, and facing the possibility of shrinking of western economies for the first time in many decades.

    But China will face the same sort of competition from other countries that China itself is offering to the west. That is where the crunch comes. China started competing with the US after they (the US) had achieved almost uniform prosperity. China is now facing pressures that threaten to slow it long before it has achieved the uniform development and prosperity that the west achieved. This means that about half of China's 1.3 billion have a taste of those greatly admired westernized lives, concrete jungles, consumer goods etc, while another 650 million are still living somewhat like 700 million Indians, 100 million Pakis and 100 million Bangladeshis.

    And while the prosperous 650 million in China may be satisfied with what their lives have brought them - it is the other 650-700 million that are still being coerced and pushed around without receiving the benefits that others have received. Whether the Chinese admit it or not these people need to be handled with some care and sensitivity. I am sure that China could continue to grow provided there is peace. But if China starts a war that is bound to pinch its economy, its internal progress is going to get hit. I am sure the tinpot politburo know that they could face outbursts of internal rebellion if economic growth stagnates - especially if it stagnates due to war started by China.

    India faces many of the same problems as China, but has taken a far slower "consent and consensus" route. This allows internal security to be easier and less coercive because internal policies are not forced. It also slows economic growth. But the Indian model does work, albeit slowly. There are some things that one can learn from China and some things that must not be copied from China. China has not done everything right. In terms of India-China relations there are some opportunities that India needs to take - and one of the things to do is to make a military and military industry that makes it unacceptably costly for China to oppose. This can only have benefits for India in the long term in terms of technology, employment and security. China may or may not suffer more internal strife - but in case it does we must be prepared for a politburo that wants to fight a war over resources or to try and divert attention from internal strife.
     
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  17. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    does that make India's relocation different?

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  18. happy

    happy Senior Member Senior Member

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    IMO, it is not wrong to boost development through forceful eviction as long as proper compensation is provided. But the main problem of lack of development of the chinese mind with regards to sanity or manners comes into effect here. When hundreds of millions of people are suddenly taken from their mostly rural livelihood and urbanized with high income standards they are unable to cope with the luxuries of modern life and their old uneducated or uncouth habits die hard. That is the main reason IMO why chinese are so ill mannered.
     
  19. happy

    happy Senior Member Senior Member

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    IMO, it is not wrong to boost development through forceful eviction as long as proper compensation is provided. But the main problem of lack of development of the chinese mind with regards to sanity or manners comes into effect here. When hundreds of millions of people are suddenly taken from their mostly rural livelihood and urbanized with high income standards they are unable to cope with the luxuries of modern life and their old uneducated or uncouth habits die hard. That is the main reason IMO why chinese are so ill mannered.
     
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  20. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    how is relocation being done in India? those sanity and manner issues dont exist in India?

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  21. happy

    happy Senior Member Senior Member

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    See the last para of post#15 of @bennedose which I am again quoting for your sake.

    So due to this slow process there is no issue of sudden increase or decrease in livelihood which in turn allows time for the indian rural populace to accustom to the gradual changes and likewise change their old habits where applicable.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
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