Taming the River Wild

The world's largest dam is under way in China, but it won't solve the country's giant energy problems

Midway between its icy source in Tibet and the fertile delta at its mouth in Shanghai, 3,900 miles to the east, China's Yangtze River hurtles through a series of sheer chasms known as the Three Gorges. Legend has it that the scenic channel was carved in stone by the goddess Yao Ji as a way of diverting the river around the petrified remains of a dozen dragons she had slain for harassing the peasants. Over the centuries painters and poets have idealized the canyons as a mist-shrouded wilderness. While that may have once been true, the region lost much of its...

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