The construction of a 45-m-high concrete wall belt is underway around the historic Baidicheng, an islet at the mid reaches of the Yangtze and the starting point of the Three Gorges, China's most noted scenic and cultural site.
Wu Kangjun, who is in charge of the wall construction, said that after the Three Gorges Reservoir was filled, Baidicheng with a height of just 230-meter water level would be threatened by the rising water. Therefore, the Chinese government had earmarked a special fund of 6.18 million yuan (US$736,000) to build the wall around the islet.
Baidicheng, one of the most valuable historical sites along the towering Three Gorges, namely Qutang Gorge, Wuxia Gorge and Ximen Gorge, has been renowned through generations as the subject of hundreds of thousands of ancient poems depicting its magnificent scenery.
The project was launched in December 2002, and its main part would have been completed by Apr. 30.
The reservoir will begin to fill on June 1 this year with water scheduled to rise 75 meters in 15 days. At that time, the first four turbines will begin generating hydroelectric power, although the project is not due for completion until 2009.
(Xinhua News Agency April 15, 2003)