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CHINA: Farmers arrested and reportedly tortured over Three Gorges Dam Project

The four were reportedly among eight farmers' representatives from Gaoyang, who planned to go to Beijing in early March to present a petition to the government, complaining that local officials had embezzled resettlement funds. The local police found out, and arrested Wen Dingchun on 8 March. Four of the others reportedly fled the area, while He Kechang, Ran Chongxin and Jiang Qingshan went to Beijing. Yunyang police apparently followed them there, and arrested them on 12 March and took them back to Yunyang.

All are reportedly held in the Yunyang county police Detention Centre. It is believed they may be charged with 'disturbing social order' or 'leaking state secrets'. They are expected to be tried at the end of April.

Gaoyang is in the centre of what is to become the Three Gorges dam in 2003, when the dam on the Yangzi river becomes operational. The Three Gorges dam will be the largest in the world and over one million people are planned to be resettled by the time the dam is completed.

The project been plagued with problems, including reported widespread corruption, embezzlement of resettlement funds intended to compensate people whose homes will be flooded, and environmental problems.

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