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China plans over 300 dam projects worldwide

A new report by the NGO, International Rivers, takes an in-depth look at the role China is playing in building mega-dams worldwide. According to the report, Chinese companies are involved in 308 hydroelectric projects across 70 nations. While dams are often billed as "green energy," they can have massive ecological impacts on rivers, raise local conflict, and even expel significant levels of greenhouse gases when built in the tropics.

"The Chinese state owned Sinohydro Corporation is now the largest hydropower company in the world. Many Chinese companies involved in the construction of large hydropower projects such as the Three Gorges Dam are now taking the lead role in new hydropower projects around the world," reads the report which adds that "the China Export-Import Bank (China Exim Bank) has become a major funder of large dams."

Nearly half of the dams in question are planned for Southeast Asia, while 28 percent are planned for Africa and 8 percent for Latin America. Since 2008, the number of dams that the Chinese are involved in has grown by 300 percent. Yet many of these projects lack any or stringent environmental and social policies.

"Few Chinese dam builders and financiers have adopted environmental policies in line with international standards," the report notes, adding that Chinese companies have been involved with building notorious dams, such as the Gibe III in Ethiopia, the Bukan Dam in Malaysia, the Myitsone Dam in Myanmar, and the Merowe Dam in Sudan.

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