Yangtze at Night Flowing to Three Gorges Dam
|Chongqing is the largest city in the world! Whether one measures cities
by area or by population, its 32 million people top the list. Yet, it is a city
that most people would have trouble finding on a map let alone describing
in terms of historic significance. For if China today is a linear extension of
Mao's Dynasty, Chongqing is an intimate part of the story.
For what is a hero if not one who has conquered a vilIian? Where would
Mao be today were it not for Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of the Chinese
Nationalist Party who tried to manage a campaign against Japan and
Mao's communists at the same time?
Much revered in the west because of his positioning against Mao Tse
Tung, Chiang Kai-shek nonetheless represents one of the first modern
foreign leaders who understood that his government could be corrupt,
ineffective and inattentive to its people, IF, it was an anti-Communist
government and reflected American anti-communist policies.
Chiang built his reputation first as China's only counter-weight to the
communist party and its military challenges. In 1930, there were more
than ten regions, usually entitled "soviet areas", under control of the
In 1930 Chiang Kai-shek attacked these regions five times, using more
than one million Kuomintang soldiers. Still, four times his army was
defeated by the Red Guard who operated with 45,000 soldiers, and
200,000 local militia.
Chiang rallied his forces once again and by October 1934, he had the
communists surrounded; yet they escaped to the north in the "Long
March," a retreat from Jiangxi in the southeast to Shaanxi in the
northwest of China.
It was during this 9,600 kilometer (5,965 mile), year-long journey that Mao
emerged as the top Communist leader. It truly was a Long March.
During the Sino-Japanese War, (1937-45) the United States treated Chiang
as an ally who could help shorten the war by engaging the Japanese in
China, and forestalling Mao and his communist followers.
With the Japanese bombing of Shanghai, 1937, China essentially
collapsed and the Japanese rolled up all Nationalist Forces along the
coast. Now desperate, Chiang retreated to Chongqing and made it his
It was a city located well up the Yangtze River, accessible only by water
because of the mountainous terrain, and the waterway itself was shallow,
dangerous and unnavigable by Japanese boats/ships of war.
As a consequence, Japan decided to bring the city down through bombing
for China had no air force whatsoever. Civilian casualties were terrible,
and the story of how the United States responded continues to this day
to reverberate good will toward the United States in China.
Chiang was anti-communist, and the United States, in addition to a
historic commitment to maintain the territorial integrity of China, was both
absolutely opposed to a Japanese presence on the mainland and a
communist presence in the heartland.
So, well before December 7, 1941, Roosevelt requested retired American
military aviators to volunteer, with pay, and fly cargo planes and fighters
(P-40) to form an informal defense of Chongqing.
The group, consisting of three fighter squadrons with about 20 aircraft
each, trained in Burma before the American entry into World War II.
Under the command of Lt. General Claire Chennault, the "Flying Tigers"
saved the Nationalist Army from the Japanese in 1941-42, permitting
Chiang to prepare to fight Mao and his peasant army.
The Tigers' shark-faced fighters remain among the most recognizable of any
individual combat aircraft of World War II, and they were shooting down
Japanese Zeros when America just kept hearing news of defeat at the hands of
The group first saw combat on 20 December 1941, 12 days after Pearl Harbor
(local time). The Tigers were paid combat bonuses for destroying nearly 300
enemy aircraft while losing only 14 pilots on combat missions. In July 1942, the
AVG was replaced by the U.S. Army 23rd Fighter Group, which was later
absorbed into the U.S. 14th Air Force with Lt. General Chennault as commander.
|GENERAL "VINEGAR" JOE STILWELL, COMMANDER
CHINA-BURMA-INDIA THEATER, W.W. II.
Chongqing built a museum in his honor.
|CHONGQING AND THREE GORGES
CHINA'S WATER POLICY
|FLYING THE "HUMP" FROM BURMA TO
|The "Life Saver" was a patch of cloth sewn on the back of the jacket of each airman. It
contained Chinese language explanations that this pilot was fighting the Japanese for China
and should be assisted in all ways possible. Clearly, it worked.
I remember seeing a movie just toward the end of the war called "China's Little Devils" and
how they helped Americans defeat the Japanese. Maybe these were the guys.
|A view of Three Gorges Dam looking upriver. To the right are the
five sets of locks; moving left to the "elevator canal"; moving
further left to the main channel spillway.
|SHIPLIFT DESIGN: Entering container from upriver on the right.
Flood the chamber keeping the ship inside of the container.
Container floats up. Doors open; ship floats on down the river.
Limited to vessels 3,000 tons or less.
|Five Locks Each Way. Stairstep total of 10 locks, each one longer,
wider and deeper than the transit locks of the Panama Canal. No
ship will be turned away, especially container ships. :-)
|NOTE THE LETTERS "AV" ON THE WINDSHIELD OF THE
JEEP. AVG stood for American Volunteer Group.
|To see a nice, animated review of the dam's
construction, click on this link.
Chinese narrative, but animation is universal.
|CHINA'S GRAND DESIGN FOR NEW CANALS
CALIFORNIA SHOULD BE SO LUCKY.
|NORTHERN CHINA ACCOUNTS FOR ONE-THIRD OF CHINA'S POPULATION
AND GDP BUT HAS ONLY ONE-FIFTH OF ITS WATER RESOURCES PER
|The south-to-north water diversion project consists of three south-to-north
canals, each running more than 1,000 kilometres across the eastern, middle
and western parts of the country. To be built in three phases, section by
section, the three canals will link up the country's four major rivers the Yangtze
River, Yellow River, Huaihe River and Haihe River.
|EASTERN CANAL: HANGZHOU TO BEIJING
(Yangtze and Yellow River Waters).
|CANAL FROM THE HUAI RIVER TO
RESEVOIRS IN AND AROUND BEIJING.
|CANAL FROM THE HAIHE RIVER TO
RESEVOIR CONNECTED TO
NORTH/SOUTH CANAL SHOWN BELOW
WHICH TIES YANGTZE RIVER TO BEIJING.