CHINA: Three Gorges victims protest

Issue 

BY EVA CHENG

Nearly 1000 former residents of the major industrial city of Chongqing, who were displaced by Beijing's US$24 billion Three Gorges Dam project, clashed with police on August 27 when they protested in Yongzhou city, Hunan province, where they now live, in anger at being cheated into relocation.

A local official said the protesters were demanding the immediate issuance of a promised living subsidy of 2220 yuan (A$530) to help their resettlement. But, according to the official, they were only entitled to a lump sum upfront payment of 1600 yuan plus an unspecified monthly installment.

The angry protesters gathered outside the Yongzhou city government office, then moved on to the train station where they threatened to board the next train and move back to Chongqing.

The planned 550km-long reservoir will flood two cities and more than 100 towns by 2009, displacing 1.13 million people, most of whom live on the outskirts of Chongqing.

It's not the first time that such displaced people have protested about being cheated by the authorities. There were widespread suspicions that the resettlement payment was slashed after local cadres took their cuts.

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