Over the past few decades, China is slowly and silently becoming a threat to the world.
China is slowly spreading its domination over the whole world. And this domination rush is becoming a threat to water security. Now china is controlling the flow of water and there are many such rivers on which China has built dam is becoming a big threat to South Asia and South East Asia.
So before starting, let us understand its geography a little, the Tibetan plateau is considered to be the largest and the highest plateau. 46% of the world’s population depend upon water obtained from the rivers originated in Tibet. So we can assume that almost half of the world population depends on the rivers originating from Tibet. In this Brahmaputra, Irrawaddy, Salween, Mekong, this is one of the main rivers which is called trans-boundary rivers. Trans-boundary rivers are the rivers that enter from one country border to another country. For example, the Brahmaputra is a river that originates from Tibet and passes through India to Bangladesh.
China occupied Tibet in 1951 and named his occupation that “ we are basically doing a Peaceful Liberation of Tibet”. But in the last few decades China has built thousands of dams on all the rivers originating from Tibetan plateaus. According to some journals China has built 50000 dams and some claim to have 60000 dams but according to the latest journal China has built more than 87000 dams so far and consist more than half of the total dams of the world. Of these 87000 dams, more than 50% of the dam is inside China. Well, it is difficult to estimate the total number of these dams accurately because we all know that China does not allow any news to leak out of the country. But against the international norms, China has unilaterally constructed dams on trans boundary rivers. Because under international norms it is mandatory to take permission of neighboring countries and share information before constructing such dams. But China has not done anything like this and Brahmaputra, Irrawaddy, Salween and Mekong did not leave any of these rivers
The stagnation of water in large reservoirs of these dams has resulted in drought-like conditions in lower and coastal countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
If we talk about the Mekong River, it originates from Tibet and flows into China, entering India, after touching Myanmar passes through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia. About 70 lac people are on this river.
As per 13th April 2020 Bangkok Post Article in the year 2019-20, China stopped the flow of large amount of water from the dam of the Mekong River due to which there was a famine in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, at the same time it was also said that the water dam from the water-logging the level was above the average.
Now we talk about Brahmaputra River. This river is known as Yarlung Zangbo or Yarlung Tsangpo in China. It also originates in Tibetan autonomous region and enters into India by making steep gorges Himalayan mountains. It enters into Bangladesh after flowing through Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in India. But in order to establish its control in its flow China has built four main dams here called Dagu, Jaicha, Jiaxu and Zhang mu. India and Bangladesh strongly opposed it, but China had no effect on it.
China Weaponizing Water
You will remember the 2016 Doklam Standoff, which happened between India and China, in which the Indian Army stood for 2 months 1 week and 5 days with arms on the Sikkim border to stop the China’s border road construction. At last China had to fall behind. This was China’s diplomatic defeat. With the disappointment of that defeat China refused to share the hydro-logical document and cleared his intention that they were going to use the water as weapon.
The hydro-logical document contains all the information related to the dam such as how much water can be deposited and how much damage will happen to the areas if water is released suddenly. Lack of this information can cause loss of life and property, many crops can be ruined. Assam has many coastal areas in which people live and whose livelihood depends on this river.
Well, we have seen how the construction of such a dam will have a direct impact on people’s livelihood. Now let’s discuss the effect it has on the environment.
- Due to the rapid construction of the dam, a big change has been observed in the atmosphere and due to this the plateau temperature has increased 3 times than the global temperature.
- Because of this plateau warming, Glacier recession especially in eastern Himalaya and thawing of Tibet’s Permafrost (permanently frozen ground) has been accelerated .
- According to the recently written article, due to the rapid melting of these glaciers and permafrost, some ancient viruses could be unlocked which were locked in for many centuries.There may also be some viruses about which human knowledge has not yet been known.
The Siyang River
Siyang River, which is the main tributary of the Brahmaputra River flows 1600 km and joins Arunachal Pradesh via southern Tibet. The river Siyang, which is considered the lifeline of northern Arunachal Pradesh, used to be crystal clear now due to the construction activity mud can be seen. After 2017 the river has turned into a dark black color .
So we saw that it has an impact not only on social and economic but also on the environment. Due to the large scale construction of such dams the heavy slag flows and this effects the biodiversity of the water.
So these are some of the things that we have understood with examples and about which everyone needs to know. Many countries are now considering it as a big problem. China’s dam rush in the Tibet region is causing long term ecological degradation and it has also started a new water race in Asia.
And at the end, I would say that in such a situation the world community should come forward and unite for it and make such an agreement which will be binding on all the countries. The domination of China over the availability of water should be controlled and the water security of the downstream countries can be secured.