The locks will be the size of the locks on the Panama Canal.
Three Gorges Dam Approaching Completion!
Workers have begun to dismantle the "coffer dam," an earthern wall which has kept the huge construction site dry.
Now, the Three Gorges Dam is complete enough to begin holding back waters of the Yangtze. Tearing down the 81.5-meter-tall
coffer dam will take bulldozers and cranes five months. The dam, to be finished in June 2003, will be 190 metres tall and
more than 2 kilometres long. Its reservoir will be filled by stages until it reaches 660 kilometers in length in 2009.
China Leads the World in Economic Development
Recently, a friend of mine returned to his native city of Kunming, China, after being away for only 5 years. He informed
me that he could not believe the changes that had taken place in those 5 years. The city had been tremendously built up. The
conditions of life for most the residents had improved, substantially.
The Chinese economy has grown the fastest
of any nation during the recent period. In 2001, the Chinese economy is estimated to have expanded at a rate of 7.3%, surpassing
Italy, to become the sixth largest economy in the world.
However, the rate of growth has been slowing down, in large
part due to the global crisis. China's 7.3% growth rate for 2001, was down from over 10 % during the previous year. The most
dramatic decline was in exports. In 2000 Chinese exports expanded 27.8% from the previous year, but in 2001, they expanded
only about 4%. This year Chinese exports may decline.
This decline in exports represents a very serious problem
since the Chinese have oriented their economy heavily toward exports. The value of China's annual exports is around 20% of
the nations GDP.
China's "New Deal"
Chinese leaders are among the few leaders in the world who have responded to the crisis with an appropriate strategy. In
1998, responding to the crisis that hit most Southeast Asian nations, China launched a program of internal improvements, which
they compared to the "New Deal" of American's depression era President Franklin D Roosevelt. The government is currently
issuing special treasury bonds at a rate of around $18 billion a year to fund major infrastructure projects.
the projects currently underway are the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River, the Qinghai-Tibet railway, a natural gas transmission
pipeline from Xinjiang to Shanghai, and the construction of a magnetically levitated train from Shanghai to the Shanghai airport.
Other projects will be launched soon, including a major water diversion plan to bring water from the South to the dry, densely
China's leaders recognize that the crisis that they are facing in the new year is far more serious
that the 1998 crisis, which hit the nations of Southeast Asia especially hard. The Japanese economy opens the new year sliding
into what is already the worst crisis since the Great Depression. The governments of Europe and the United States have given
no indication of any competent program to deal with the crisis. Their economies are not far behind Japan.
the decision of the Chinese to emphasize the development of the domestic economy was correct, that will not be enough, given
the magnitude of the crisis. Therefore China must find collaborators who are willing to launch a world wide "New Deal,"
to serve as an engine for economic recovery. This requires economic reforms to control global speculation and development
It is from this standpoint that collaboration with other nations, in projects such as the Eurasian Land-Bridge
is so crucial. This is a project to link the entire Eurasian continent with railroads and other infrastructure. China, Russia
and the nations of Central Asia have already begun this effort. The participation of the nations of Europe and the United
States, as well, would be to everyone's benefit.