As the world searches for renewable energy in the face of climate change and China attempts to expand its power supply to further its economic development, hydroelectricity has moved to the top of the country’s energy agenda. This has given rise to a new form of “hydropower discourse” in China. The discourse is underpinned by the ideas of environmental protection and sustainable development, which are widely perceived as unobjectionable in view of the current availability of resources. This article argues that the apparent ethical pursuit of renewable energy by building dams to generate electricity masks relations of dominance and helps to enable large energy companies, political leaders, and regional decision makers to pursue their interests against those who have limited or no access to the knowledge and capital employed in the development process. It will examine the ideological assumptions and institutional rootedness of hydropower discourse, and the power relations embedded in it.
China, Environment, Sustainable Development, Dams, Discourse
How to CiteLee, Y.-. ching B., 2014. Water Power: The “Hydropower Discourse” of China in an Age of Environmental Sustainability. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, 21(1), pp.42–51. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ane.103