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China Three Gorges activist beaten - rights group

Written by: Staff
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BEIJING, June 13 (Reuters) A Chinese activist who has spent years petitioning over resettlement terms for those displaced by the giant Three Gorges Dam was beaten up just after being called in by police, a rights group said today.

Human Rights in China said it was the latest in a string of attacks against Fu Xiancai, who has been petitioning since the 1990s for better compensation for the more than 1 million flooded out of their homes by the dam.

''As a result of his legitimate petitioning activities, Fu has been made a target of a chilling pattern of harassment, assault, death threats and abuse by individuals who have been clearly allowed to act with impunity,'' the New York-based group said in a statement.

The Three Gorges, the world's largest hydroelectricity dam, is also aimed at taming floods on the Yangtze river, but the 25 billion dollae project has been mired in controversy over its environmental impact and the human cost to those resettled.

Fu was beaten up while walking home last week after a meeting with the Public Security Bureau in Zigui County of the central province of Hubei, where he was called in for a discussion about an interview, critical of resettlement terms, he had given to a German broadcaster.

An official contacted by telephone at the Zigui Public Security Bureau declined to comment.

Police barred the German journalist who interviewed Fu from entering the hospital to see him, Human Rights in China said.

Activists also say dams in the southern province of Fujian exacerbated flooding there when operators opened the floodgates of 10 reservoirs without adequate warning.

Fujian has been the hardest-hit area from two weeks of heavy rain in southern China that has killed at least 93 people and caused half a million to be evacuated to higher ground.

Dam operators opened the floodgates on June 6 when reservoir levels rose too high, sending torrents of water into the Hetongxi valley in Fujian's Pingnan county, said environmental think-tank Probe International.

A banner strung up in one of the areas affected by the floods called them a ''man-made disaster'' and called on local leaders to hold a dialogue with residents, according to a photo of the scene on the Web site of a local environment group, Fujian Pingnan Green Home.

REUTERS KD PM1031

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