China’s Xinhua news agency has reported that the authorities managing construction of the Three Gorges Project (TGP) are having difficulties in raising funds for the project.

Xinhua says that only around US$6.6B of the US$9.7B required for the second phase of the project has been found. TGP authorities are hoping to raise the shortfall through commercial bank loans and the issuing of corporate bonds. A bond issue at the end of last year was not greatly successful, thanks to the current economic crisis in Asia, and a negative publicity campaign by environmental groups.

Reports that there are difficulties in completing the funding for the project have also surfaced at the official New China News agency. The New China agency puts the shortfall at US$3B, and says that it will be met with US$600M in stock offerings, along with loans from Chinese banks and domestic bond offerings.

New China has also reported that the Chinese authorities had underestimated the number of sites of cultural and archeological interest that would be inundated. Estimates were that 100 sites had to be transferred, at a cost of US$35M. But by 1996, the agency says, 1283 sites had been confirmed and scholars would need US$234M to excavate them.

•Correction. In the February 1999 issue of IWP&DC it was reported that China’s National People’s Congress had voted to drop the TGP and the decision was overturned by Li Peng. In fact the People’s Congress met for two weeks in March-April 1992, when the TGP was one of the issues discussed.

The legislature approved the project by a vote of 1767 for, 177 against, and 662 abstaining.