Wen Jiabao, China’s premier, was reported in the Hong Kong newspapers Ta Kung Pao and Ming Pao to have said the plans for the Nu, also known as the Salween, needed careful consideration and that they should be reviewed scientifically, citing concern amongst both society and environmental groups.

While details of Wen’s instructions remain unconfirmed by Chinese authorities, the news has been welcomed by human rights and environmental organisations.

The proposed scheme would involve the construction of 13 hydroelectric dams totalling some 21,320MW in generating capacity near the Three Parallel Rivers United Nations world heritage site.