A man looks out on his new home from a ship carrying migrant people. The ship is travelling along the Yangtze River, from Chongqing Municipality to Chongmiong Island, Shanghai.
The Three Gorges dam has been a pet project of several top Chinese leaders, including Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, who saw it as a monument to their greatness, bending nature to their will. However, the dam will lead to the resettlement of some 1.28 million people, accounting for 4 per cent of the population of Chongqing Municipality. It will take 10 years for them to move out of the area completely. Most of them are to be resettled in mountainous areas along the Yangtze River, which has a limited population capacity and a fragile ecology. There is another resettlement area in Hubei Province.
I work for China Youth Daily, one of the largest newspapers in China. I have been working on the topic of migration from the Three Gorges for three years – but I take it to be ongoing work.