In southwest China the Salween River is named Nu Jiang, which means "River of Anger." It is one of the two rivers that still remains un-dammed in China. "Dam or Damned" examines how many environmentalists view this pristine river running through deep canyons with strings of rapids as a precious land hidden in a forgotten corner of southwestern China. But in the eyes of Chinese hydropower companies who are constantly seeking new sources of energy, the drastic drop of the rapids is a rare gift that shouldn't be left untapped.
"Dam or Damned?" takes viewers deep into the River of Anger and the "Three Parallel Rivers" region, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, that will soon be dotted with mega-dams. Through the controversy, "Dam or Damned?" delves into the layers of dilemma and injustice in modern China, the never-ending conflicts between development and conservation, the scenario of the poor and underprivileged amid the Chinese economic miracle, the tentative emergence of civil society, and a possible new sign of democratic awareness in China.
The filmmaker Allen (Ka-Lun) Au is currently Knight Fellow at Stanford University. He filmed "Dam or Damned" for the news documentary program "New Magazine" that he hosts in Hong Kong. This documentary won the 2005 Chinese University of Hong Kong Journalism Award.
- Filmmaker; Knight Fellow, Stanford University