Near Tiger Leaping Gorge in Western China, local farmers are angry that plans are being made to dam the Yangtze river, flood the gorge, and force the relocation of thousands of people. And they are getting vocal. Similar dramas are unfolding all across China, where villagers are being told that if they want to participate in China's economic growth, they must accept dams or factories that destroy their environment. They don't like this deal, but China's rigid political system leaves these farmers, who are still the majority in China today, with few legal options for fighting it. How China's ruling party manages the environmental, social, economic, and political tensions converging on such places as Tiger Leaping Gorge will determine China's near-term political stability.
Thomas L. Friedman [11/09/05]