Talking About: "Draining the Pond to Catch Fish and Burning Down the Forest to Hunt Game"

Qing Yun

PureInsight | October 8, 2007

[] The proverb
"draining the pond to catch fish and burning down the forest to hunt
game" is a metaphor for only considering immediate interests and not
considering long term effects.

In real life, few people will do things this way. But many similar circumstances have happened in China.

(1) The Crisis of the Three Gorges Project

In western culture, water is considered the source of all living
things. Not only did the civilizations in history originate from
riverbanks but the intertwined rivers and lakes are like human blood
vessels that nourish the earth, humans, and all living things.

But people often forget this point, especially during the last fifty
years of reforming the land by the Chinese Communist Party. Take the
Three Gorges project, for example. It is the biggest irrigation project
in the world. Its dyke is 3000 meters long and 185 meters high. The
total investment is about 200 billion dollars and it is will take 18
years to complete. Besides its huge coast, it has involved more than
one million people who have had to relocate. Many precious historical
and cultural relics been destroyed.

Under political influence, this huge engineering project was started
hurriedly, disregarding all opposition. Many problems are now being
discovered. These problems are so severe that Chinese officials have to
acknowledge that the Three Gorges project will cause landslides at the
shore of the reservoir and its lower reaches and wreck the ecological

But these are only the beginnings of the ill effects. As time elapses,
more and more problems will become evident and increasingly serious, in
terms of flood, drought, ecology, and pollution.

In August, 2006, a large drought occurred in the Chongqing area that
hadn't happened for over one hundred years. The drought lasted for more
than 50 days. In 2007, Chongqing again had torrential rains: 33
counties and 411 townships were hit by the calamity and more than 6
million people in the city were affected. Many people who have lived in
Chongqing for a long time are puzzled and think the calamities are
caused by the Three Gorges project.

From the Three Gorges project, we can see many problems in China. China
has the largest number of reservoirs and dams. It has the most
dangerous dams. Up until 2006, China had 85,874 reservoirs and more
than thirty thousand reservoirs that are having safety problems, which
amounts to 40% of the reservoirs. China has the most dam breaks in the
world. From 1954 to 2005, a total of 3495 reservoirs had dam breaks. On
the average, 57 dam breaks have happened every year. The casualties due
to the flooding from dam breaks exceeded those being caused by natural

There is no reason not to construct reservoirs. The Dujiang Dam, which
was built more than two thousand years ago, is still bringing benefit
to people. When a government builds dykes on every river, it will cause
rivers to dry up and loss of control of flooding. It not only gets
enmeshes us in our own web, but also leaves awful messes for our
descendants to take care of.

(2) Water Pollution and Destruction of Ecology

Our ancestors considered that all living things had power. When humans
treat nature well, they will benefit from it. That is why many places
with picturesque scenery will have heroes bringing glory to the place.

But contemporary Chinese overlook this point. For the last several
decades, especially the last ten to twenty years, people pursue
immediate interests. They blindly exploit and squander natural
resources so that the imbalance of industrial pollution and ecology has
reached an extreme level.

In North China, over several decades or even over the last hundred
years, the water ecology remained balanced and the underground water
level was only 2-3 meters down. Now many rivers have dried up. We see
many bridges without water flowing under them. Many river courses that
used to be open to navigation have now become sand dunes. Many places
people have to drill more than two hundred meters to reach clean ground
water. The water level of the underground water drops more than one
meter each year in the Shijiazhuang area. Two thirds of the ground
water in the region has been used up. In addition, three quarters of
the water sources are polluted.  

In essence, the Yellow River is becoming a dying river. It has lost the
conditions of river subsistence. Such huge amounts of water are being
taken from the river that it is unable to maintain itself. The course
of the river has been cut off in countless places. Filthy things fill
the remaining water in the river. Many types of vegetation, living
things, and organism's habitats have died out in large quantities.

Now the Yangtze River is following in the footsteps of the Yellow
River. More than forty thousand dams, thousands of water gates and
embankments have caused the Yangtze River to become an "irrigation
ditch." They have not only caused many sections of the river to dry up
with resultant loss of bio-diversity but they also don't help mitigate
the disasters of flood and drought. The industrial pollution along the
river is a big peril the Yangtze River is facing today. According to
statistics, more than half of the 394 main gateways for discharging
wastes are not meeting the national standard. As much as 25 billion
tons of pollutants continuously flow into the Yangtze River and
seriously contaminate the water for the residents of more than 500
towns along the river.

There was some black humor about the deputy chief of the Environmental
Protection Bureau being gassed by waste water that happened recently.
According to reports, the industrial wastewater discharged from Daming
Pharmaceutical in Kaifeng City, Henan Province sent out a strong
pungent odor from its yellowish-brown industrial wastewater. When the
deputy chief went to the wastewater discharge point to take samples, he
was gassed by the noxious gas and fell on the ground. The doctor's
diagnosis indicated that it was due to the effects of chemical
poisoning. He continued to take medicine for the incident for some
time. The wastewater discharged from the company had reached a
concentration of 4570 milligram per liter, which is more than thirty
times the maximum allowed concentration of 150 milligram per liter. The
untreated wastewater had caused serious harm to the people and animals
near by. Villagers often feel tightness in the chest, nausea, or even
suffer short-term comas. Milk cows are not grazing as much and produce
little milk. Villagers went to the city, county and township to protest
without any result. The media had also refused to report the situation.
This black humor clearly shows a serious problem.

(3) Draining the Pond to Catch Fish and Burning Down the Forest to Hunt Game

While reforming the land of the country destroys nature and pollution
has worsened the ecology, the loss of moral standards brings even more
danger to people.

Traditional Chinese culture values people's moral character. People
need to look inside themselves in order to continue improve their moral
character and lessen commission of errors. Even for common people, good
manners between people and mutual respect are needed.

For the last several decades, not only have the harmony between humans
and nature been destroyed, but also the honest relationships between
people have been ruined during the many political movements and Great
Cultural Revolution. What is in their place is to play it safe. For the
last ten to twenty years, people pursue profits and do not care about
others and do things to harm others. In such a society, people eagerly
look for quick success and instant benefits. They fabricate faulty
things and poisonous foods. Inundation with pornography and violence
become unavoidable.  


Under such circumstances, what will become of our next generation and future society?

Although we worry about material wealth and our environment, but loss of belief and soul make people worry even more.

(4) Conclusion

Humans living in this world need to conduct themselves well. When
humans cannot reach the moral standard, heaven will not protect them
any longer.

When people fight for self-interest and harm others, they eventually
will harm themselves. When everyone unconsciously accepts the Chinese
Communist Party way of thinking and their propaganda, they no longer
care about right or wrong and show indifference towards the persecution
of Falun Gong practitioners. What else can we expect from them?

All living things in the world have their rules. When various natural
disasters happen, regardless of whether they are flood, drought,
earthquake, there are reasons behind their appearance.

Perhaps, we still have an opportunity for remedy, but there is not much time left.  

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