Chasing Mirages

Southwestern Adventure 江河行 2010: The Last Episode

by on Apr.09, 2011, under Posts

Finally, after months and months of delay, here is the last episode of the Southwestern Adventure.  Thanks so much for sticking with me through this trip!  Hope you enjoyed the pics and the captions.  I plan to follow up on these issues by exploring the downstream effects of China’s damming activity on its Southeast Asian neighbors.  Especially worrying are China’s damming of the Lancang River, known as the Mekong in southeast Asia, and the Nu River, also known as the Salween.

If you have contacts at NGOs or government agencies in Southeast Asia who are working on international river issues, please let me know.

Here is a map of our approximate route during this episode.

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2 Comments for this entry

  • Rhett

    Great poo! What the hell produced that, an ox? Looks like a bunch of oversize, melted caramelos.

    Real question: is Mogetso a tourist destination? Will it be affected by the damn? Looks kind of like Glacier National Park. Are there federally protected lands (like national parks in the U.S.) in China? What’s the nature of the relationship between the Chinese government and particularly sensitive or unique ecosystems/geological formations?

    • Chaser

      Yes, Mogetso is a tourist destination. A huge development company won a contract to run the area and it is now accessible only by shuttle bus with a paid ticket. It won’t be directly affected by the nearby dams because it is so high up, out of the reach of reservoir levels. However, in recent years there was a plan to dam the creek that flows out of Mogetso, which would have ruined much of the scenery and probably affected the ecology and water quality of the lake itself. I don’t know the history of the fight, but apparently the people arguing against that dam won and there is currently no further discussion about damming in the immediate vicinity.

      There are lands protected by the national government in China. The unfortunate truth is that very little money and human resources are dedicated to patrolling, planning, studying and maintaining these areas. I’ve heard that, on average, something like $7,000 is allocated each year to each national park in China. The truth is that there are a handful of well-known parks that receive the lion’s share of the funding and many designated areas receive literally 0 support.

      A systemic problem in China is that the central government does not have the resources (or is unwilling to allocate the resources) to enforce its regulations. Most operational duties are performed by provincial and lower-level governments, and when they are negligent or actively breaking regulations, there is little that the central government can do to stop them or even learn about these infractions.

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