The Corner

China Roundup

In a posting yesterday, I asked whether the Three Gorges Dam, a building project in China, is now complete. I received what I always receive when I post a question in The Corner, namely, an education. Herewith, a sampling:

***Regarding the Three Gorges Dam itself, readers report that the project is now scheduled for completion in 2009. One reader also sends along a couple of measurements of the gigantic project: “It [will] stretch nearly a mile across and tower 575 feet above the world’s third-longest river [the Yangtze]. Its reservoir [will] stretch over 350 miles upstream and force the displacement of close to 1.9 million people.”

***On the statistic, which I posted last week, that last year China consumed more than half the world’s concrete output, one reader adds that China is also estimated to consume 30 percent of the world’s coal output and 36 percent of each year’s production of steel.

***An architect writes to say that “I don’t know about concrete, but here in the Midwest steel prices and lack of availablity are being blamed on Chinese construction,” and a consultant to the steel industry sends a report that concludes with a nice little dig at the Bush administration: “Our[steel] mills [here in the United States] are producing as much as they can and prices have skyrocketed. China has done for the U.S. steel industry what tariffs could not.”

***My favorite email: “I’m teaching English in a city 2 hours south of Beijing that probably has 20 construction cranes operating at this moment. But they don’t just use concrete for buildings. An empty field was recently covered in concrete to make a park. In fact, most of the city is concrete, including the parks. They love the stuff.”

Kathryn, did you hear that? This happy Corner is even being read in the People’s Republic of China.

Peter Robinson — Peter M. Robinson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.

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