The Nu River - known as the Salween in Thailand and the Thanlwin River in Burma - is a treasure of biodiversity and China's last free-flowing river. Through great educational efforts, China's budding environmental movement managed to stave off dam building plans on the river in 2004 and 2009. In 2013, the Chinese government announced new plans to build five hydropower plants on the undammed river. Since then, NGOs like Green Watershed, Green Earth Volunteers and International Rivers have worked hard to document the unique ecological value of the Nu River and the serious environmental and geological risks of the proposed dam cascade. These efforts have now been crowned with success: The Power and Hydropower Development Plans for the 13th Five-Year plan period (2016-2020), which China's State Energy Administration has just published, no longer include any dams on the Nu River. The plans identify the basins in which further hydropower projects are to be built.
Chinese companies invest enormously in the Southeast Asian nation of Cambodia. They serve their own commercial interests, and at the same time help local economies grow. Yet a complex local political environment often makes their work difficult. How should they communicate with local NGOs? How should they ease people's concerns and win over locals?
China’s plan to cut carbon emissions commits Beijing to a surge in construction of ecologically destructive hydropower dams that heralds the end of free-flowing rivers in the country, experts say.