THE THREE GORGES OF THE YANGTZE RIVER
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very glad to be your tour guide this time! Now the plea-sure-boat
is only 8 km away from the world-renowned Three Gorges of the Yangtze
In his poem "The Three Gorges", Chen Yi, a general of new
China, writes: "How grand and magnificent the Three Gorges are!
Only on board a ship can you really appreciate the beauty!" He
out-lined the features of the Three Gorges with one word "magnificent"
and gave encouragement and impetus to the people to tour the amaz-ing
Thanks to the magnificent landscape and gracefulness, the Three Gorges
have turned out to be the world-renowned scenic spot. First of all,
I'd like to give you a brief introduction to them before you enjoy them.
The Three Gorges are among the first ten most beautiful and fa-mous
places of interest and top the list of "the first 40 China tourist
sites." They are also among the first key scenic spots selected
by the state and one of the 35 best scenic spots in China. the Yangtze
Riv-er is 6300 km long, next only to the Amazon River in South America
and the Nile in Africa in the world. Its source traces to the highest
snowy peak of Tanggula-Geladandong Mountain Ranges. However, in the
time immemorial, the eastward-flowing Yangtze River had
The Three Gorges of the Yangtze River
three tributaries that flew in different directions. One of them flew
east and emptied into the East Sea; another poured into the ancient
Mediterranean Sea; the third flew south to the Northern Bay. The Yangtze
River we see today is an old watershed that used to cut across the three
rivers that ran east, south and west respectively.
The terrain of China in the past era was featured by " The ter-rain
turned low from east to west", and the western part of the Yangtze
River was a part of the Mediterranean Sea. A bay was near the eastern
end of the Three Gorges. The "orogenesis" that hap-pened 130
million years ago brought about the ever-increasing height of the earth's
crust around the Three Gorges and the ancient Mediterranean sea retreated
slowly from the western part of the Yangtze River. The eastern and western
parts of the river ran west-ward and eastward respectively with the
lump as the watershed. 75 million years ago, the ocean to the north
of the Indian Ocean Plate was partially embedded into an oceanic trench
of the Euro-Asian Continent. 54 million years ago, the Indian Ocean
Plate collided with the Euro-Asian Continent and the slow elevation
of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. As a result, the terrain was shaped with
the west high and the east low and thus dammed the ancient Yangtze River's
pas-sage to the Red River. So the ancient Yangtze River had to join
with young glacier rivers like the Tuotao River and the Tongtian River.
With the continuous digging and erosion of the source, their foun-tainheads
drew nearer and nearer. Due to the drastic hunch of the earth's crust
many crevices were created. The vive water dug the earth year in and
year out and finally the river blocked the Wushan Ranges. The river
water continued to dig and cut its way out, and the river's bed got
deeper and wider accordingly. In the end, in the passage from Fengjie
of Chongqing and Yichang of Hubei Province the amazing Three Gorges
took shape. The whole process took 1 million years or so.
The Three Gorges pass through the boundary between Chongqing and Hubei
Province with a total length of 193 km long. 243
The Three Gorges include: the Outang Gorge which features magnif-icence'
the Wu Gorge which features serenity and beauty, and the Xiling Gorge
which features numerous shoals and rapids.
(The boat entering "Qutang Gorge)
Look! My friends, the marvelous gorge is just ahead. This is the first
gorge called the Outang Gorge. The Yangtze River is partially stemmed
by the Baidicheng Mountain and a bay of
1.6 sq. km is thus formed. It is very much like a weir and thus came
the name "Outang Gorge". It extends 8 km, starting from Baidicheng
in the west and ending at Daixi Town in the east. At the mouth of the
gorge there once stood a huge reef. This is the so-called "Yanyudui"
which once blocked the throat of the Three Gorges and locked the current.
With the ups and downs of the water, it some-times looks like a horse
and sometimes an elephant. "Yanyudui' once frightened the boatmen
and visitors who had to pass by it. For many years, it was a big problem
for the navigation. In 1958, workers re-moved this obstruction with
explosives and since then the voyage through the Three Gorges has become
safe and smooth.
[Introduction to Baidicheng (White Emperor City)]
The old construction complex on the mountain on our left ahead is the
historical site of the Baidicheng. Baidicheng has a history of more
than 1900 years. It is surrounded by water on three 'sides and mountains
on one side. It lies 264 metres high above sea level. To the east of
the gorge and the south of the river stands the 141.5-me-tre-high Baiyan
Mountain. And to the east of the gorge and north of the river erects
the 1400-metre-high Chijia Mountain. These two mountains face each other
and lock the river like a door. The mag-nificent Kuimen is just located
here. It is the upper mouth of the Qutang section and is difficult for
According to historical records, during the reign of Wangmang in the
West Han Dynasty, Gongsun Shu took possession of the land 244
of Sichuan area. He built a city here called Ziyang. There was a well
in the city and white evaporation often rose up from the well like a
flying white dragon. Gongsun Shu believed this was a good omen for
him to ascend the throne in the future. He made a fuss about it and
called himself "White Emperor" in 25 and renamed Ziyang as
Emperor City. In 36, Emperor Guangwu retrieved the lost land and
Gongsun Shu got killed in the battle. The White Emperor City was
destroyed to racks and ruins accordingly. Later on, people estab-
lishedthe Temple of the White Emperor on the Baidi Mountain to
commemorate Gongsun Shu for his accomplishment of administering
Baidicheng is where Liu Bei entrusted his son to his Prime Ma-ister
Zhuge Liang on dying bed. Inside the City there is a palace called Mingliang
Palace in which huge colored statues of Liu Bei, Zhang Fei, Guan Yl1
and Zhuge Liang are enshrined and worshiped; in "Tuogu Hall"
the colored statues of 21 figures in the period of the Three Kingdoms
are on display; and there is an "Observing Star Pavilion"
where Zhuge Liang observed the positions and movements of stars for
purpose of anticipating what would happen in the future. Statuesof Zhuge
Liang, his son Zhan and grandson Shang are en-shrined in Wuhou Memorial
Hall. In the exhibition halls on both sides of the Temple of White Emperor
are collected over 80 stele in-scriptions of Sui, Tang and other dynasties.
The most valuable of all are two Sui steles. One was inscribed in 600
and the other in 602. The Record of Longshan Maintain Cemetery and Stupa
of Jinlun ;Temple are inscribed respectively on these two steles. Sui
steles not only record the first-hand information -about hydrological
data of the Yangtze River, but are of vital importance to studies of
the history of Fengjie. Phoenix Stele is also called "the Stele
of Three Kings",
because inscribed on it are a phoenix, the king of birds, a phoenix
tree, the king of trees, and the peony, the king of flowers. The
most interesting and exciting stele is the stele in the shape of bamboo.
leaves. At first sight, it looks like three bamboo stems, but once you
give it a close look, you will find that it is a poem that praises the
personality of bamboo for its endurance. The stele of 24-character poem
written by Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty is bound to rouse your keen
Since time immemorial; Baidicheng has been of strategic impor-tance
for various kingdoms. The last ditch of Yiling Battle, one of the ten
famous battles featuring the weak defeating the strong is right here.
Kuifu to the west of the city has the site of Yong'an Palace where Liu
Bei entrusted his Prime Minister with his son and tie relics of the
graveyard for Madam Gan, the Queen of Emperor Zhaolie. On both sides
of the city there are deployments arranged by Zhuge Liang: water tactical
deployment and land tactical deployment of troops. You can also find
the site of the battlefield in which Li Zicheng and Zhang Xianzhong,
leaders of the peasant uprising in the end of the Ming Dynasty, fought
against the imperial army.
Baildicheng is a renowned "city of poetry". A lot of famous
po-ets of all dynasties came here to appreciate the scenery and wrote
po-ems. "Poet Immortal" Li Bai wrote an excellent poem "I
Left Baildicheng in the Morning" and Premier Zhou Enlai calligraphed
this poem and his calligraphic work is housed in the Temple of white
Emperor; "Poet Sage" Du Fu stayed here for 2 years and wrote
437 poems which accounted for one third of all his existing poems. Liu
Yuxi created a piece of poetry Bamboo Branches based on the folk song
of Kuizhou area. In the spring of 1963, late Chairman Mao Ze-dong inspected
the Three Gorges on board "Jiangxia". When the ship arrived
at Baildicheng the sight stroke a chord in Mao's heart and he recited
Li Bai's poem with high spirit: "I left Baildicheng in the morning
and it took me just one day to cover 1000 li to get to Jian-gling. Apes
on both sides screeched here and there, and before you realise it the
boat has already passed by 10,000 mountains."
Look ahead! You can enjoy the beauty to your heart's content because
the scenic spots are numerous and miraculous here. There is a row of
holes in the cliff of Baidi Mountain. It's said that the leader
of the peasant army Zhang Xianzhong conquered Baildicheng and guarded
the mountains and all passes. The enemy blocked the river and cut off
the water passage with heavy force. Zhang Xianzhong ordered his soldiers
to fetch water through holes dug in the cliff. The enemy found that
their tricks had been seen through and retreated reluctantly. The later
generations call these holes "Stealing Water Holes". The two
iron bars on the rock in front of "Stealing Water Holes" are
the relics of "Pass-locking iron chains". In the past, iron
chains could block the river. In this case the ships and boats could
not pass. The water below the rock on which the iron bar is placed comesfrom
the Caotang River. Go along the, river for about 4 km and you will find
yourse\at the old residence of the great poet in the Tang Dynasty-Du
Fu. Please look to the right side of the gorge. You can see a stalactite
about 20 metres tall and 6 metres round. It is in the shape of a phoenix
raising its neck and a stream of spring wa-ter flowing down slowly along
the neck and thus comes the name "Phoenix drinking Spring Water".
On the-cliff in the air near "Phoenix" is the 'White-painted
Wall." There are many inscriptions on it and you can see from these
inscriptions the development of Chi-nese culture in the past. Look still
upward and you will find a lot of and holes about the size of a bowl
lined in the shape of the Chinese character "Zhi". They are
the legendary "Meng Liang ladders" stretching from the river's
bank to the top of the mountain. Under the rock not far from" Meng
Liang ladders" is another stalactite. Pleaseobserve carefully and
you will find that it looks like a monk hanging on the verge of the
cliff shoulder over' head. People call it "Hanging Monk Shoulder
over Head". According to the legend, a monk purposely feigned a
ghost to frighten people but his tricks were discovered by Meng Liang.
Meng Liang then hung him up shoulder over head as a punishment. Still
above the "monk" is a cave in the cliff called"Armour
Cave". In 1958, two hanging coffins and other cultural relics were
found in the cave. Please look at the left bank. "Fengxiang (Bellows)
Gorge" is inscribed distinctively on the cliff.
irding to textual research, the so-called "bellows" are hanging
ins of the Ba people in ancient times. And this mountain lane is site
of the ancient mountain road. People inscribed 8 Chinese acters to commemorate
the builders of the road. That is "Seven ger Gate". The interior
of the cave is deep and winding and e are seven dangerous passes altogether.
Therefore, it is called 'en Danger Gate". Now please turn around
and look at the tlern bank. The limestone cave in the middle of the
mountain is mysterious "Golden Cave". Archaeologists excavated
a lot of pons, utensils and pink pictographs of ancient Ba people in
the ., This proves that this is the site of ancient Kingdom of Ba and
has uncovered the mystery of the development of ancient King-
of Ba. Look upward along this mountain and you will find a ~ stone erected
there, towering against the sky. It looks like a gi-rhino overlooking
the far distance. People call it "Rhino Gazing ie Moon". My
dear friends, the place ahead is Daixi County, aI-ie end of Qutang Gorge.
On the land where Daixi stream joins Yangtze River is the site of the
ancient Daixi people. This site s back to 5000 years ago and was the
settlement of the ancient sle in. the Neolithic Age of the matrilineal
B boat' entering the Wu Gorge)
The second gorge "Wu Gorge" is right ahead. The shape of ling
Mountain is like the character "Wu", so the mountain ed its
name. The gorge shared the same name accordingly. The Ie gorge stretches
42 km from the Daning River in the west to ferry of Badongguan.
>iting the Lesser Three Gorges)
Ladies and gentleman,
Attention, please! There is a city ahead to the north of the riv-That
is Wuxia, the seat of Wushan County. On the Gaoqiu mtain 1 km northwest
of Wuxia there is a taoist temple called
Thej Look upw the cliff. Archaeolo dead or st dence that ing good (
Now about 20 ~ groups of say that tl taryon th. the Sanche When you
Now tains stand This const the left sid
According to textual research, the so-called" bellows" are
hanging coffins of the Ba people in ancient times. And this mountain
lane is the site of the ancient mountain road. People inscribed 8 Chinese
characters to commemorate the builders of the road. That is "Seven
Danger Gate". The interior of the cave is deep and winding and
there are seven dangerous passes altogether. Therefore, it is called
"Seven Danger Gate". Now please turn around and look at the
southern bank. The limestone cave in the middle of the mountain is the
mysterious "Golden Cave". Archaeologists excavated a lot of
weapons, utensils and pink pictographs of ancient Ba people in the cave.
This proves that this is the site of ancient Kingdom of Ba and thus
has uncovered the mystery of the development of ancient King-dom of
Ba. Look upward along this mountain and you will find a huge stone erected
there, towering against the sky. It looks like a gi-ant rhino overlooking
the far distance. People call it "Rhino Gazing at the Moon".
My dear friends, the place ahead is Daixi County, al-so the end of Outang
Gorge. On the land where Daixi stream joins the Yangtze River is the
site of the ancient Daixi people. This site dates back to 5000 years
ago and was the settlement of the ancient people in-the Neolithic Age
of the matrilineal society.
(The boat entering the Wu Gorge)
The second gorge "Wu Gorge" is right ahead. The shape of Nanling
Mountain is like the character "Wu", so the mountain gained
its name. The gorge shared the same name accordingly. The whole gorge
stretches 42 km from the Daning River in the west to the ferry of Badongguan.
(Visiting the Lesser Three Gorges)
Ladies and gentleman,
Attention, please! There is a city ahead to the north of the riv-er.
That is Wuxia, the seat of Wushan County. On the Gaoqiu Mountain 1 km
northwest of Wuxia there is a taoist temple called
Gaotang Temple which enjoys a history of more than 1000 years.
The pleasure boat is anchoring at the wharf of Wuxia County and we're
going to visit the Lesser Three Gorges of Ninghe River by "Liuye"
Boat. This is Longmen Gorge with a length of 3 km. Look! Two lines of
orderly square holes on the cliff are the sites of the an-cient plank
roadway. These two lines spread 400 km to Zhenping of Shaanxi Province
and Zhuxi of Hubei Province. According to histori -cal records, this
plank roadway linked Qin, Shu and Ba Kingdoms and played an important
role in the political, military, economic and cultural communications
The gorge before us is the Bawu Gorge. It is 10 km in length. Look upward
please! And now you can see the hanging coffins on the cliff. These
coffins are about 300 metres high above the river. Archaeologists believed
that these coffins were used for burying the dead or storing documents
and archives. This gives supporting evi-dence that the ancient people
had the customs and practice of "mak-ing good coffins with all
they had" and "the higher the coffin hangs, the more filial
the descendant is. "
Now the "Liuye" boat is entering the Dicui Gorge, which is
about 20 km long. Look! This is the Golden Monkey Mountain, and groups
of wild monkeys are playing on the mountain. Local friends say that
the number of wild monkeys is over 1000. Along the tribu-tary on the
right there are "Much Lesser Three Gorges," namely, the Sancheng
Gorge, the Qinwang Gorge and the Changtan Gorge. When you pass through
them, you will find yourselves very close to nature.
(Passing through the Wu Gorge)
Ladies and gentlemen,
Now the travel boat has entered the Wu Gorge. Twelve moun-tains stand
on both sides of the Wu Gorge with six on either side. This constitutes
the misty "Wu Gorge Gallery". Now please look at the left
side. This is "Denglong Mountain" and it lies 15 km down
the lower reach of Wuxia County. And is 1215 metres high above sea level.
It has six peaks which seem to wind their way upward as if they were
lying dragons soaring towards the sky. Please look ahead now. This is
"Shengquan Mountain" which is 1023 metres above sea
level. On the top of the mountain the spring water is crystal clear
and cold, and thus it got the name "Sacred Spring." In front
of the mountain there is a white square rock. It looks as if a silver
medal were fastened to the neck of a male lion, so it is also called"
A lion with a silver Medal around Its Neck". And look far ahead,
you will see Chaoyun Mountain which is 1324 metres above sea level.
When-ever the sun rises, clouds on the top of the mountain seethe violent-ly.
And this is "Goddess Peak" which is the' highest peak of all
12 peaks in this area. It is 30 km far from Wuxia County and 1112 me-tres
above sea level. The Goddess is an independent natural stone column
which stands 6.4 metres high like a gentle, slim and graceful maid on
top of the peak. The story goes that Goddess is the incarna-tion of
Yao Ji, the youngest daughter of the Queen Mother of Heav-en. Yao Ji
decided to live on earth after she helped Da Yu harness the turbulent
river. She exposed herself to nature and gazed at the turbulent water
in the river, navigating boats that passed through the gorges. Since
Goddess embraces the sunrise and bids farewell to the sunset, the peak
is also called "the Peak Looking over the Sunrays". In Sep~ember
1965, on the very day when Premier Zhou Enlai ac-companied a head of
a certain foreign country here, the Goddess
Peak unveiled her face and revealed her beauty distinctively, which
is rare in September. Premier Zhou said wittily, "Due to the freque~t
fog and mist here, this Goddess seldom receives the mortal. Today, luckily,
she received us in honor of your Majesty." That distin-guished
guest jumped with joy and said: "I saw her! I saw her!" now
please look at the right. This is "The Flying Phoenix Peak",
and it is 821 metres above sea level. The terrain of the peak is like
a phoenix spreading its wings. In 676, a temple was built for the Goddess
on the neck of the "phoenix", but now it is discarded. Behind
the tem pIe is a platform called "Lecturing Platform". And
the peak ahead is "Green Screen Peak". It is 850 metres above
sea level. On the peak trees are growing luxuriantly green like a verdant
screen, thus is the name Green Screen Peak. The peak on the left is
"Pine Trees Peak". This peak is 990 metres above sea level
and the pine trees and cypress trees on it stand tall and straight,
and the whole peak is covered with a carpet of green grass. Seen from
distance, it looks like a round .hat, so it is also named "Hat
Box Peak". The peak in front of it is "Gathering Immortals
Peak" about 995 metres above sea level. Seen for afar, the peak
looks like an open scissors, so people also call it "Scissors Peak".
The peak has many precipices and one of them is in the shape of stone
stele. The ancient people inscribed 15 characters on it. As you can
see, the inscriptions are bold and vigorous. This is also called "The
Kongming Stele." On the top of the Gathering Im-mortals Peak there
are jagged rocks of grotesque shapes like a whole set of tableware.
It is said that after their gathering, the immortals left all there.
The peak on your right is "Gathering Cranes Peak". It is 829
metres above sea level. Whenever the night comes, flocks of white cranes
stand high on the top or hover over the peak. Hereby it gained the name.
Just now we enjoyed the scenery of 6 peaks to the north of the river
and 3 peaks to the south of the river. There are 3 other peaks hiding
behind mountains to the south of the river out of our sight. Next time
when you come to visit again I would like to ac-company you to visit
them on foot if you are interested in doing so.
Dear friends, the stream on our left is called Bianyu
Stream. This is the boundary river between Chongqing and Hubei province.
Inscribed on the rocks at the mouth are several characters "Wide
Gap between Chu and Shu" (namely, Hubei and Sichuan). This is the
ferry of Badongguan and in front of it is the Shen-nong Stream. This
stream traces to the southern side of the main peak of Shennongjia Mountains
and runs from north to south and empties into the Yangtze River. It
comprises 3 gullies: Mianzhu, Yingwu and Longchangdong. The Shennong
Stream is famous for its
2unique voyage: people drift to the Yangtze River by pea-shaped boat.
The stream is full of twists and turns and the passage is also narrow,
so this brings exciting experience to tourists going by pea-shaped boat.
Here we are! This is Shennong Stream. If you go rafting along the stream,
you are supposed to get to the upstream by bus. You're expected to take
care of each other, Safety is most important. Look ahead, friends! Our
pleasure boat is entering the western gate to Zigui of Yichang. This
is Niukou and that is Shimen. They are also famous for perilous and
swift rapids. There comes the Xietan Shoal! We're now at the terrifying
The islet to the starboard of our boat is called "Liulaiguan".
Whenever speaking of this islet, local people will tell you a story
about Buddhas in Liulaiguan sitting back against back. On the left is
the old Zigui City. It takes after a huge gourd, so it is also called
"Gourd City". Zigui is the hometown of Qu Yuan, a great patriotic
poet in ancient China. In 1953, Qu Yuan, together with 3 other celebrated
figures of other countries, were listed as the greatest cultural celebrities
to be honored by the world. This is the gate to the memorial temple
for Qu Yuan and muse-um for Qu Yuan. The three characters "Qu Yuan
Temple" were written by a famous writer Guo Moruo. Let's step forward.
This is the bronze statue of Qu Yuan. It portrays that Qu Yuan was ponder-ing
with his head down and strolling in the wind. It is 3. 92 metres tall
and weighs 3 tons, making it one of the biggest bronze statues in China.
Please look at both sides. These are eastern and western stele corridors.
In the corridors erect 96 stone steles on which are inscrip-tions of
22 works of Qu Yuan such as Lisao and Jiuge. Besides, po-ems eulogizing
him through different dynasties can also be found here. Let's walk upward.
This is a two-storeyed exhibition hall in memory of Qu Yuan and it has
two. One is an exhibition hall to commemorate Qu Yuan, the other is
displaying unearthed cultural
?relics in Zigui. Behind the hall is Qu Yuan's grave for his clothes.
If you happen to visit the Three Gorges during the Dragon Boat Festival
or "Duanwu Festival", you will have the chance to watch the
dragon boat competition set up in commemoration of Qu Yuan for his noble
deeds, because he laid down his life for his country. Be-sides, you
will enjoy the programs featuring gorge-and-river style, such as folk
songs, boatman's work songs, I mean, these songs are sungto synchronize
movements with one person leading.
(WhiIe the boat entering Xi Iing Gorge)
Now we start visiting the third gorge" Xiling Gorge". In Chi-nese
"xi" stands for "west" while "ling" here
stands for an ancient city "Yiling". It has been so named
just because it lies to the west of Yiling(present-day Yichang). The
gorge starts from Xiangxi County of Zigui in the west and ends at Nanjin
Pass of Yichang in the east, and it is altogether 76 km long. The stream
on the left is called Xiangxi. Among the four an-cient beauties in Chinese
history, one is Wang Zhaojun, a virgin con-cubine of an emperor in the
Western Han Dynasty. Her hometown -Zhaojun Village is at the source
of Xiangxi Stream. In order to help the emperor establish a stable peaceful
relationship with Xiongnu, a minority nationality at that time, Wang
Zhaojun, with no regret, a-greed to marry Chanyu, the leader of Xiongnu.
Her noble deeds promoted cultural communications between Han people
and Xiongnu peopleand brought harmony to both sides. Premier Zhou Enlai
once praised her as "a figure that made contributions to the national
soli-darity of all ethnic groups". In commemoration of her, people
re-stored her old residence, dressing table, purple bamboo garden, Queen
well, Zhaojun platform and stele forests in Zhaojun Village. Now our
boat is entering "Gorge of Military Books and Sword" . Look
at the north side and what jumps into your eyes are books on the art
of war and double-edged sword. The story goes that when Zhuge Liang
entered Sichuan area, he. hid books on the art of war
2and double-edged sword in the cliff for brilliant offspring to reach
for. Now we are out of this gorge and the shoal in front of us is Qingtan
shoal. A' number of rock collapses took place in this area through the
ages. In 1029, a tremendous rock collapse cropped up and blocked the
passage of the river for 21 years; in 1542, a moun-tain collapse took
place, making the river running backward for over 50 km and blocking
up the passage for the following 82 years; June 1985 saw another mountain
slide which moved over 80 metres down to the Yangtze River, causing
waves surging 36 metres high. Lucki-ly, 1371 residents in the Qingtan
Town below the cliffs were timely evacuated, but the town perished from
the earth almost all of a sud-den. Later on, a new town was built five
km away from the gorge.
Look! That is the famous perilous Qingtan Shoal! In the old days lots
of work songs sung by the boatmen in Qingtan area revealed the true
picture of the hardship of the boatmen, such as "when you pull
the boat onto the shoal, you find your skull knocked through; when you
put the boat into the water, you can not tell whether. you will be alive
or dead"; "Sailing over the Qingtan Shoal, may Buddha and
Heaven bless us all", and so on. Along the river on the northern
bank of Qingtan Shoal is "White Bone Tower". The inside of
the tower is hollow. Two round openings are 2 metres above the ground.
They were used as the pas-sages for throwing in the corpses of victims
from accidents in the Qingtan Shoal. From the middle of the Qing Dynasty
to around 1949, numerous corpses had been piled up in the tower. After
the founding of New China, the navigators removed with thousands of
tons of explosives the huge rocks which stood at the centre of the river
and posed danger for thousands of years. From then on, boats and ships
have been sailing safely and smoothly through the Three Gorges. The
gorge on our left is called "Gorge of Ox Liver and Horse Lungs".
In 1900 under the reign of Emperor Guangxu, the English and German invading
ships "Shutong" and "Ruisheng" intruded XiI§
in gGorge under the cloak of "developing Sichuan area" . They shot
off a corner of "Horse Lungs". On this the famous writer Guo
Moruo wrote, "Even the Gorge of Ox Liver and Horse Lungs cursed
the aggressiveness of the invaders". This is a powerful condemnation
of the imperialist 's evil practice. The stream near the "Fairy
Maiden Peak" on the right is called "Jiuwanxi", According
to the legend, the great patriotic poet Qu Yuan planted a hundred mu
of Jiuwan irises and orchids here. He also nurtured and educated the
talented with intentionof turning them into statesmen for the State
Not far ahead is the Kongling Shoal. It starts from Jiuqunao and endsat
Zhoujiatuo with a length of 2.5 km . The narrowest part in the north
of the shoal is only five metres wide in dry season and it is also the
shallowest part along the Three Gorges section of the river, with the
record for the lowest water level only 3.1 metres. Qingtan Shoal and
Xietan Shoal are famous for rapids, but "Oingtan and Xi-etan can
not be called dangerous shoals if compared with Kongling, the real gate
of hell". Kongling Shoal seems like a chessboard with rocks scattered
all over. On the facade of one rock inscribes "Straight to me".
Whenever a boat arrived here, it must sail towards thisrock straightly
if one wants to pass it without peril; otherwise, the boat would capsize
and the people would get killed . For the last 100 years, numerous ships
and boats have got capsized by striking rocks, including 7 ships such
as "Ruisheng", "Fulai" and "Fuyuan". After
liberation, these reefs and rocks were removed with explosives and the
previous "gate of hell" has become a smooth pass.
(Introduction to the Three Gorges Project)
My friends, the construction site of the project of the Three Gorges
is right ahead. The layer of the earth in this area is of hard graniteand
so this area is thought to be the most ideal place to con-struct a giant
dam . The axis of the dam will cut off the Yangtze Riv-er right here.
Please come closer and have a look. I'd like to give you some idea about
this project first. On 3 April 1992, the 5th session of
2the 7th National People's Congress passed The Resolution on Estab-lishing
the Project of the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River. Since then, the
legislative procedure concerning this project has been com-pleted and
the project has entered the phase of implementation. On 14 December
1994, Premier Li Peng announced the starting of the project.
In the history of the Chinese nation, the harnessing of the Three Gorges
could be traced back to time immemorial. In ancient times, there were
beautiful legends on this topic, such as, the Goddess of Wushan Mountain
assisted Da Yu to harness the river and the immortal bull in Xiling
Gorge helped Da Yu to dig the Yangtze Riv-er. In modern time, Dr. Sun
Yat-sen initiated the scheme of utiliz-ing the hydroelectric potential
of the Three Gorges. At first sight of them, an American geologist believed
the Three Gorges had great waterpower potential. "Father of World's
Geology" Muler and "Fa-ther of China's Geology" Li Siguang
came to the Three Gorges for inspection respectively. As early as in
1946, experts from China and America gathered in Denver to study and
design the project and ship locks. In July 1956, Chairman Mao Zedong
swam across the Yangtze River and wrote a poem afterwards. In this famous
poem, he depict-ed the blueprint of the project of the Three Gorges
as "Erecting a stone wall in the west and cutting off the river
in Wushan Mountain area with a high-rise dam above the river. Since
the founding of New. China, Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Deng
Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, Qiao Shi, Li Riuihuan and other senior
offi-cials have come to the dam location of the project and construction
site for inspection, planning and investigation.
According to the Three Gorges Project a concrete gravity dam is being
built here. The dam is 1983 metres in length, while the total length
of the top of the dam is 3035 metres. It is 185 metres high and has
a storage capacity of 39. 3 billion cubic metres while the normal storage
water level is 175 metres. The anti-flood storage capacity will reach
22.15 billion cubic metres. The sand sorting capacity per sec
The Three Gorges of the Yangtze River
ond is2460 cubic metres. And the capacity for floodwater sluicing is
1. 1 billion cubic metres per second. 26 generators are to be installed
with a capacity of 700,000 kilowatts for each and the whole capacity
of 18200,000 kilowatts. The annual generated energy will reach 84. 7
billion kilowatt-hours (kwh). The passage construction on the left has
an annual handling capacity of 50 million tons. The double-line locks
of 5 levels can lift ships of over 10.000 tons. The single-line one
level ship-lift can handle freighters or passenger ships of 3000 tons
at high speed. When completed, the reservoir will submerge arable land
of 431,300 mu and about 1131,800 residents will be evacuated. If calculated
in terms of the pricing level in 1993, the total stat-ic investment
of the project reached £
95, 646 billion, including £
50,09 billion for pivot, £
30,07 billion for emigrant settlement al-lowance and £
15,3 billion for transmission project. Such a construc-tion plan has been adopted,
namely, first-class development; com-pletion once and for all; storage
of water at different phases and continuous evacuation. The. time span
for this project is 17 years. The whole process is divided into 3 phases:
the first phase spanned 5 years and the river was dammed in 5 years
from 1993 to 1997; the second phase will last 6 years, and by 2003 the
first batch of power generators will be put into work and the permanent
locks and ship liftswill be put into operation; the third phase will
last another 6 years and by 2009 the whole three gorges project will
be accom-plished and 4 sets of generators will be put into practice
annually. A number of technical records of this project top the list
of its kindin the world -the world's largest power station, the largest
concrete, the largest navigation construction, the largest amount of
cubic metres of earth and stone excavated, the largest amount of cu-bic
metres of earth and stone stuffed, the largest amount of cubic metres
of concrete used and the largest amount of metal structure in-stallment.
After its completion, the project will playa vital role in anti-flooding.
power generation. navigation. cultivation. tourism. and purification
of the ecological environment. evacuation for develop-ment . water transportation
from South to North and water irrigation program. This is unparalleled
among all the huge power stations in the world.
The Project of the Three Gorges is a great one that has attracted worldwide
attention. It is also the greatest project since the building of the
Great Wall and excavation of the Grand Canal in history. It is this
project 'that opened a new era in history and will benefit the coming
generations with the merits of this very generation.
Look! The scene on the construction site is really magnificent! These
are self-unloading trucks of 45 tons. 77 tons and 140 tons. Those are
giant forklift trucks and long-armed loading machine. Could you see
the 80-metre-high cofferdam over there? Please look at the hanging-cable
bridge that spans the river! It is called Xiling Yangtze River Bridge
and it is only 4.5 km away from the construction site of the project.
The area north to the bridge is called Tietiaoshu, while the southern
area called Datuo. The bridge project started in December 1993 and was
completed in June 1996, with the total investment over £
O. 35 billion. The bridge is 1165.86 metres long. 18. 4 metres wide and has
a loading capacity of 290 tons. Its span is 900 metres and is reputed
as "the first span in Shen-zhou (namely. China)" . The construction
of this bridge has eased the busy transportation on both side of the
project of the Three Gorges. ensured the passage of fleets of 10.000
tons and painted a colorful rainbow to the picture of the project of
the Three Gorges.
Now our boat has entered Yellow Bull Gorge whose passage is like twisted
intestines. People built a memorial hall for the Yellow Bull which was
said to have helped Da Yu split the gorge . Later on, this memorial
hall was renamed as the Temple of Yellow Bull and the Temple of Huangling.
On the stele in front of the memorial hall is the inscription of the
handwriting of Zhuge Liang. He once carne here and recalled Da Yu who
made great contributions in harnessing
the river and wrote down these words afterwards. That is the sago cycad
planted by Zhuge Liang himself in front of the stele. 1983 saw the bloom
of this sago cycad and this stirred up a sensation. Inside the temple
there are a lot of stele inscriptions recording hydrological data about
the Three Gorges in history. Among them there is one stele that writes
as follows -"in 1870, floodwater deluged an in-scribed board which
is the symbol of the highest water level of the Three Gorges."
All these historical records have provided an impor-ta!1t hydro-geological
basis for the construction of Gezhou Dam and the Project of the Three
The northern bank of the roundabout ahead is Liantuo, the southern,
Nantuo. In 1919, Li Siguang, Father of China's Geology, returned to
motherland after acquiring a master degree at Birming-ham University
in England. In 1924, he led his students to make in-vestigation into
this area and defined the Sinian Genealogy in explicit and clear-cut
terms. Geology of the Eastern Gorge of the Yangtze River and Its History,
written by Li Siguang and his students, has enabled the research in
this regard to take the lead in the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, our boat has passed through Nanjin Pass of Yichang,
the eastern gate of the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River. The towering
cliffs on both sides of Nanjin Pass form another natural strategic post
and different kingdoms fought for it bitterly in history. Please look
at the riverside area . Those places of interest are the SanyouCave,
the White Horse Cave, Linfeng City, Platform of Drum-Striking for Zhang
Fei and Pavilion of Supreme Happiness. The dam ahead is Gezhou Dam,
the existing largest dam of the Yangtze River and a regulatory reservoir
for the Project of the Three Gorges. The Construction of Gezhou Dam
started on 30 December 1970 and was completed on 10 December 1988. Look!
They are three locks and two power generation Factories. Those 27 holes
are the locksof the outlet. That is the lock to soft sand. This is the
dyke to control deposit. These are the main components of the Gezhou
Dam. This dam is 2606. 5 metres long and 70 metres high. The total drainage
area of the Yangtze River which the dam controls for the moment is 1
million squ. km, accounting for 55% of the total. The storage capacity
of the reservoir is 1.58 billion cubic metres, 21 pow-er generators
are installed and the total installed capacity is 2. 715 million kilowatts.
The total investment amounted to £
4.848 billion. The electricity generated here is transmitted to Central China
and East of China and other areas through super-high-voltage power transmission
lines and the darn has become one of the key energy bases in China.
Since the first generator was installed in July 1981, the aggregate
electricity turnout has reached 143 billion kwh by May 1994. The output
value has scored £
12 billion. A lot of foreign friends praised Gezhou Dam Project as "the
pride of the Chinese
people" and "the new Great Wall of the Chinese nation ."
Dear friends, our boat will go through No.2 ship lock and it will take
50 minutes or so to pass it. Look! The lock gates of the upper reach
have opened and the movable dual-purpose bridge is rising slowly to
18 metres high so that the ships and boats can pass safely. Nowtheboatisslowlyenteringthelockroom.
Thelockroom is 280 metres long and 34 metres wide. Ships of 10,000 tons
can pass it without difficulty. Look there! The lock gates of the upper
reach are closing slowly. The lock gates fit together perfectly and
even a drop of water can not penetrate through . Tourists from home
and abroad speak highly of this dam, some would say, "Miracle,
it is really a miracle." Look! The lock gates of the lower reach
are opening slow-ly. The two gates are 39.4 metres wide and 34 metres
high ; each weighs 600 tons, and the area is larger than two basketball
courts. The control of both the lock gates and the valves is convenient
and flexible. Now we're out of the lock room. The place we're going
to is our destination city Yichang, the so-called "the Throat to
the Three Gorges" and "the Throat between Chongqing and Hubei
Friends, .the magnificence of the Three Gorges never fails to strike
a chord of feelings among the tourists. Many foreign guests 260 commended
: "The Three Gorges of the Yangtze River are a wonder of the whole
world. It is treasure bestowed by God". The ex-presi-dent of Singapore
Lee said excitedly after his visit: "What amazing beauty the Three
Gorges are! I would prefer to be a general manager
iI of a Travel Agency of the Three Gorges when I resign some day. "
f Our boat will anchor at the wharf of Yichang harbour. And to-
,i .day you're supposed to be staying in Sanxia Hotel which is three-star-rated.
We've booked air-tickets to Wuhan and Xi'an for you, so don't worry
about that. Three days' visit has conceived profound friendship between
us and I will bear it in mind for life. On the point of saying goodbye,
please let me, on behalf of all our crew members, extend all our best
wishes to you, and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy the visit all
the more in Wuhan and Xi'an! Good-bye, dear friends! Have a pleasant