* Nepotism, shady property deals and dodgy bids cited in
* Company vows to look into issues raised and punish
* Accusations spread across social media, newspapers comment
By Li Hui and Ben Blanchard
BEIJING, Feb 28 A scathing report on corruption
at the company that built China's $59-billion Three Gorges dam,
the world's biggest hydropower scheme, has reignited public
anger over a project funded through a special levy paid by all
The report by the ruling Communist Party's anti-graft
watchdog last week found that some officials at the Three Gorges
Corporation, set up in 1993 to run the scheme, were guilty of
nepotism, shady property deals and dodgy bidding procedures.
Between 1992 and 2009, all citizens had to pay a levy built
into power prices across China to channel money to the dam's
construction, a project overshadowed by compulsory relocations
of residents and environmental concerns.
"The relatives and friends of some leaders interfered with
construction projects, certain bidding was conducted secretly
... and some leaders illicitly occupied multiple apartments,"
the graft watchdog said on its website(www.ccdi.gov.cn).
The Three Gorges Corporation published a statement on its
website on Tuesday saying it would look into the issues the
probe raised, and strictly punish any corrupt conduct and
violations of the law and party discipline.
The accusations - made as part of President Xi Jinping's
crackdown on deep-rooted corruption - have spread rapidly across
China's popular Twitter-like service Sina Weibo, and some of
China's more outspoken newspapers have weighed in too.
Time-Weekly, a newspaper based in southern China's Guangzhou
city, this week revealed further details of the graft.
In one case, the newspaper reported, a company bidding for a
construction project related to the dam area was told to pay a
bribe of one million yuan ($163,200) by members of the
hydropower giant's bidding evaluation panel.
"Because of its fully state-owned background ... it was
given special 'protection', and for years was practically free
of supervision and regulations," the newspaper wrote.
The Southern Metropolitan Daily called in an editorial for
the full weight of the law to be applied to a firm that has
sucked up so many national resources.
"The entire strength of China converged on building this one
massive project," it wrote. "Enormous sums went into it, great
powers were bestowed. But the oversight over these powers which
should have been there, was not."
On Weibo, the topic ranks among the most widely discussed
"Did the Three Gorges fund paid by us all on every
electricity bill actually go to feed dogs?" wrote one user.
"Why did the Three Gorges Corporation, fed and nurtured by
us all, become an 'unifilal son'?" asked another user.
This is not the first time the company - and the project -
have come in for criticism.
Late last year, soon after the party sent its graft
inspection team into the Three Gorges Corporation, a senior
official involved in "follow-up" work on the dam was fired for
"suspected serious disciplinary violations", the usual euphemism
In 2011, then-premier Wen Jiabao presided over a government
meeting on the dam which said that though the scheme did provide
benefits, it had created a myriad of urgent problems, from the
relocation of more than a million residents to risks of
And back in 2000, six years before the project was complete,
authorities busted a ring of officials who siphoned off hundreds
of millions of yuan in resettlement funds.
($1=6.1284 Chinese yuan)
(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)