The projects are scattered over 13 provinces and municipalities and include three hydro plants belonging to the China Three Gorges Project Corp.
One of the three, and the biggest investment to be halted, is the US$5.3bn Xiluodu hydropower plant going up on the Jinsha River, which feeds into the Yangtze. Pan Yue, vice-minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), said work at eight projects where work still continued despite January 24's cease and desist order, had since stopped. Environmentalists welcomed the news, saying the government was at last enforcing laws that had won China worldwide praise for their exhaustive protections, but condemnation for China's lack of enforcement.
But state media had little to say on what happens next for the projects, or whether some would be ordered to go through re-designs or worse. SEPA had earlier threatened to take the operators of the Three Gorges Dam to court unless they heed the order. According to official reports, state-owned Yangtze River Three Gorges Project Development Corp would have been subject to fines and other penalties had SEPA pursued legal action. In mid-January, the agency had ordered construction stopped at 30 major infrastructure projects because they had allegedly flouted the law.