China blasted the first group of buildings in Fengjie County Sunday to prepare for water storage in the Three Gorges reservoir.
Explaining why Fengjie County was chosen as the first site for demolition, a local government official said Fengjie is the only ancient town of historical importance to be totally submerged in water in the Three Gorges reservoir area.
Fengjie's Places of historical interest include Baidicheng a town of red-walled, green-tiled ancient buildings built on a limestone rock hill 160 meters above the river water level, and the tomb of Liu Bei, the king of Shu who retreated to Baidicheng and subsequently died of depression and sorrow during the Three Kingdoms period (220-280).
In addition, the Fengjie Thermal Power Plant, the office building of Yong'an Township were among the highest buildings in the county, and they had immediate and vital influence on the life of local residents. Their demolition means the start of large-scale relocation of the county, with the government taking the lead.
The Three Gorges project is scheduled to begin water storage and power generation in June 2003.
(People's Daily January 20, 2002)