A floating restaurant is stranded in a branch of the Yangtze River in Chongqing Municipality on March 21, 2010. (Stringer Shanghai / Courtesy of Reuters)
Jared Mondschein looks at the key stories behind the headlines in Asia.
– One less hurdle to the dam – The New York Times is reporting that the Xiaonanhai Dam along the Yangtze River, a $3.8 billion project that environmentalists have derided for its dire ecological impacts, is back on track for construction. China’s State Council decided to reduce the boundaries of a Yangtze River preserve—that had been established to protect biodiversity in the wake of the Three Gorges dam—signaling that overall approval for the project is imminent. According to one Chinese geologist, the dam will displace 400,000 people and flood 18 square miles of fertile farmland. All this to produce power at a cost of about $2,144 per kilowatt, triple the cost of the Three Gorges Dam.
– Where does China want foreigners investing? The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top economic planning agency, announced the latest revision to the foreign direct investment catalogue. The catalogue, a list of industries that the NDRC divides into the categories encouraged, allowed, and restricted, for the first time deemed car-making and polysilicon plants as only allowed – not encouraged, as it had done previously. Are foreign carmakers worried? For the most part, those already in the country aren’t, but the future does not look at bright for those still waiting to be allowed to enter the market, such as Japan’s Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd, the maker of Subaru. Read more »