Private lake-creation in Hunan lands officials in hot water

China | 14 Sep 2018

Sixteen Chinese government officials have been sacked and more are being investigated over the unauthorized construction of a reportedly 20-square-kilometer private lake that has hurt the environment, including being a cause of flooding.

A businessman created the lake in Hunan province by building barriers at Dongting. That is China's second-biggest freshwater lake and a flood basin for the Yangtze. But the Xinhua News Agency did not report what he wanted to do with the lake.

The Hunan government said the businessman, who had carried out contract work for local authorities since 2001, began construction of the lake in 2008. It took until 2014 before it came to the attention of officials - and they failed to rectify it.

The case comes amid a central government campaign to eliminate hundreds of small but often substandard dams and turbines in a bid to bring order to China's massive hydropower sector after years of unconstrained construction.

Xinhua first reported on the made-made lake in June, which was when authorities have finally moved to dismantle the barriers.

Sixty-five officials have since been questioned on the matter.

Among those dismissed are two officials from the province's animal husbandry and fisheries bureau as well as the deputy mayor of Yiyang, a city close to the lake. Investigations into 11 more are continuing.


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