China's Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze River, the world's largest hydropower project, shows the nation at its most powerful, but also makes it vulnerable in entirely new ways.
For the past nearly two decades, during design and construction of the dam, planners have engaged in a low-key effort to make sure it is protected from hostile forces -- whether terrorists or nations at war with China.
The measures they have come up with range from building an extra-solid structure, to posting elite paramilitary troops in the immediate vicinity of the dam and, if all else fails, quickly emptying the reservoir.
"The security of the dam, and in particular protection against terrorist attack, is something we take very, very seriously," said Cao Guangjing (
"We paid special attention to preparation against military attack in the preliminary design phase of the dam," he said.
The spirit of immense confidence and pride that permeates the entire Three Gorges project also affects most engineers' attitude towards the idea of an attack on the 2.3km-long dam.
"Nothing will happen," said Feng Zhengpeng (馮正鵬), director of hydropower complex management. "China is rising and I'm not afraid any nation will attack."
That may be, but history shows dams are tempting targets in war.
In its 2004 report to US Congress on China's military power, the Pentagon also suggested that an attack on the dam might be one of Taiwan's options in case of war with China.
"Since [Taiwan] cannot match Beijing's ability to field offensive systems, proponents of strikes against the mainland apparently hope that merely presenting credible threats to China's urban population or high-value targets, such as the Three Gorges Dam, will deter Chinese military coercion," it said.
In one of the more obvious signals of China's security precautions, a detachment of the paramilitary People's Armed Police is kept just next to the dam.
"What you can actually see is just one piece of the effort," Cao said. "We have emergency plans to cope with all possible eventualities."
According to earlier reports in the state media, China has deployed military helicopters, patrol boats, armored vehicles and bomb disposal units near the project.
China has conducted several rounds of anti-terrorist exercises in the area, including one that simulated an assault with a boat brimming with explosives.
The dam is robustly built, and officials say it will be able to withstand any conventional attack. The worst-case scenario would be an assault with a nuclear weapon. In that case, Cao said China has only one option.
"If there's a nuclear attack, the main procedure will be to draw down the whole reservoir," Cao said. "The Three Gorges dam is equipped with sufficient flood discharge capacity.
Pins hidden in her shoes, head forced down a toilet, kicked in the stomach: South Korean hairdresser Pyo Ye-rim suffered a litany of abuse from school bullies, but now she is speaking out. The 26-year-old is part of a phenomenon sweeping South Korea known as “Hakpok #MeToo,” where people who were bullied publicly name and shame the perpetrators of school violence — “hakpok” in Korean — decades after the alleged crimes. Made famous globally by Netflix’s gory revenge series The Glory, the movement has ensnared everyone from K-pop stars to baseball players and accusations — often anonymous — can be career-ending, with
One of Australia’s two active volcanoes on an island near Antarctica — known as Big Ben — has been spotted by satellite spewing lava. The lava flow on the uninhabited Heard Island, about 4,100km southwest of Perth and 1,500km north of Antarctica, is part of an ongoing eruption that was first noted more than a decade ago. The image was caught by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite on Thursday, and is a composite of an optical picture and an infrared image. The lava is seen flowing down the side of Big Ben from near the summit, known as Mawson Peak.
TIME TO TALK: Among China’s grievances were economic and trade issues related to Taiwan, but both countries emphasized the need to maintain communication US Trade Representative Katherine Tai (戴琪) on Friday raised complaints about China’s state-led economic policies during a meeting with Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao (王文濤), who objected to US tariffs and trade policies, as well as issues related to Taiwan, their offices said. However, statements from the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce emphasized the need for Washington and Beijing to maintain communication on trade. “Ambassador Tai highlighted the need to address the critical imbalances caused by China’s state-led, non-market approach to the economy and trade policy,” the USTR said in a statement released after the
READY FOR ACTION: Military, police, firefighters and volunteers were standing by for search-and-rescue operations, with an official saying they ‘cannot afford not to prepare’ Philippine officials yesterday began evacuating thousands of people, shut down schools and offices and imposed a no-sail ban as Typhoon Mawar approached the country’s northern provinces a week after battering the US territory of Guam. The typhoon was packing maximum sustained winds of 155kpm and gusts of up to 190kph, but was forecast to spare the mountainous region a direct hit. Current projections show the typhoon veering northeast toward Taiwan or southern Japan. Although it is expected to slow down considerably, authorities warned of dangerous tidal surges, flash floods and landslides as it blows past the northernmost province of Batanes from today