News Summary: China's dams

As it dominates dam industry, China criticized for taking on destructive projects others shun

Associated Press

THE WORLD'S DAM BUILDER: China's giant state enterprises and banks have completed, are working on or are proposing some 300 dams from Algeria to Myanmar.

GIVE AND TAKE: Poor countries contend the dams are crucial to bringing electricity to tens of millions who live without it and boosting living standards. Environmental activists and other opponents counter that China is willing and able to go where most Western companies, the World Bank and others won't tread anymore because of environmental, social, political or financing concerns.

DIFFERENT DIRECTION: The rise of China as a dam-building power began in the early 2000s as its companies beat out then dominant Western competitors and just as anti-dam lobbyists were celebrating victories over the World Bank, until then the leading international dam financier. In the United States, where the golden era of dams peaked in the 1960s, scores are being decommissioned.

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