Introduction

Chinese hydropower companies and banks are now the largest dam builders in the world. Chinese banks have stepped in to fill the gap left by traditional dam funders such as the World Bank. The Chinese government sees its hydropower companies' global ambitions as playing a "win-win" for China and the host countries.

This is the second edition of International Rivers' guide to the Chinese overseas dam-building industry. Since the first edition was published in 2008, China's dam industry has continued to consolidate its position as the global leader in dam construction particularly hydropower dams. Along the way, there have also been some positive developments. Sinohydro, a state-owned company and the world's largest dam-builder, has adopted an environmental policy with a view to addressing its international responsibilities. The Chinese government has also moved closer to adopting guidelines on the environmental impact of overseas investments. Despite this, many Chinese hydropower companies continue to pursue projects that have significant and devastating impacts for host communities and the environment. Although there has been progress, implementation of standards and safeguard policies is still relatively weak.

The purpose of this guide is to support groups looking to address the impacts of dams built by Chinese companies and financiers. The guide is intended for use by non-governmental organizations and individuals working with communities affected by Chinese overseas dam projects. It describes how Chinese companies and financiers and the Chinese government are involved in the development of dam building overseas overseas and what can be done in response.