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February 15, 2003

HRIC is frequently asked, "What can I do to make a difference?" This page gives suggestions on what you can do in specific areas of concern.


Local authorities in the areas affected by the Three Gorges dam project have suppressed efforts of residents to join together to denounce corruption and mismanagement and insist on proper compensation and resettlement arrangements. As well as intimidation and harassment of complainants, authorities have prosecuted the “leaders” of petition campaigns, such as those described on the back cover. Write polite letters calling for the immediate and unconditional release of He Kechang, Ran Congxin, Jiang Qingshan and Wen Dingchun, and urging the authorities to grant their families regular access to them as is their right.

Send your appeals to:

  • Acting Mayor Wang Hongju, Municipal CCP Secretary Huang Zhendong, Deputy Mayor Gan Yuping (in charge of Three Gorges resettlement issues)

    Chongqing Municipal Government, Renmin Road, Yuzhong District, Chongqing 630000, PRC

    Tel: (86-23) 6385-4444

    Fax: (86-23) 6385-2544


  • General Secretary Hu Jintao, Chinese Communist Party, Yongdingmen Street, Beijing 100032, PRC

  • National People’s Congress, Quanguo Renmin Dahuitang, 19 Xijiaominxiang, Xichengqu, Beijing 100805, PRC


The article “Reservoirs of repression” on page 26 of this issue details the human rights abuses associated with the massive hydro-electric projects the Chinese government continues to promote as solutions to the country’s energy and flooding problems. The gargantuan Three Gorges project is only the most well-known of many such projects, most of which go ahead after minimal public discussion and almost no consultation with dam-affected people.

A number of organizations based outside China are devoted to campaigning against Three Gorges and other hydro projects they believe will be damaging to China’s environment and people. Both IRN and Three Gorges Probe also have Chinese-language Web sites and e-mail information services.

  • International Rivers Network (IRN)

    On a global level, IRN supports local communities working to protect their rivers and watersheds, opposing destructive river development projects and encouraging equitable and sustainable methods of meeting needs for water, energy and flood management.

    Three Gorges has been the main focus of IRN’s China work. Since 1991, IRN has been campaigning against international financing of the project. IRN also documents the ecological and social impacts of the dam's construction. In the United States, IRN is promoting a boycott of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's consumer services (including its Discover Card) because of the bank's financing of the Three Gorges dam.

    To find out more about IRN, or join in their campaigns, visit their Web site at:

    IRN, 1847 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94703, USA

    Tel: (1-510) 848-1155

    Fax: (1-510) 848-1008


  • Three Gorges Probe

    Three Gorges Probe is a bilingual Web site and news service devoted to monitoring the social, environmental, economic and technical impacts of the world's biggest dam. It is part of Probe International, which monitors the impact of the Canadian government’s aid policies.

    To find out more, look up this organization’s on-line information at:

    Probe International, 225 Brunswick Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5S 2M6

    Tel: (1-416) 964-9223

    (In Canada toll-free: 1-800-26-EARTH)

    Fax: (1-416) 964-8239


In the last few years, there has been a notable growth of non-profit organizations working on environmental issues in China. While some sensitive topics—like the Three Gorges dam—remain off-limits for domestic groups, many of these organizations are playing an increasingly important role in identifying environmental problems, lobbying for changes in laws and policies, promoting public awareness and education and encouraging volunteer action on environmental issues.

Information on some of these organizations is available from a variety of sources.

  • China Development Brief

    The Summer 2001 edition of this excellent Beijing-based publication contained an overview of some of the most important non-profit environmental organizations now operating in China. This is available on their Web site at:

  • China Environment Forum

    As part of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Project, since its inception in 1997 the CEF has published occasional papers that contain information on the activities of environmental organizations in China. All of the publications in their China Environment Series, with the latest being No. 5, are available on their Web site at:

  • US Embassy Beijing

    The Environment, Science and Technology Section of the US Embassy maintains an extensive Web site with useful information about green groups and environmental issues:


Thanks to those who have recently made donations or renewed their subscriptions to China Rights Forum.

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