China controls 87,000 dams and the source of ten major rivers, upon which 2 billion people depend. It can make its control of water a weapon. From Eugene K. Chow at nationalinterest.org:
Hidden in plain sight is an intimidating Chinese weapon that allows it to hold a quarter of the world’s population hostage without firing a single shot. While much attention has been given to the nation’s fearsome new military hardware, a formidable component in its arsenal has largely escaped notice: dams.
With more than 87,000 dams and control of the Tibetan plateau, the source of ten major rivers which 2 billion people depend on, China possesses a weapon of mass destruction. With the flip of a switch, the Middle Kingdom can release hundreds of millions of gallons of water from its mega dams, causing catastrophic floods that would reshape entire ecosystems in countries downstream.
China knows first-hand the destructive power of water. In an attempt to halt advancing Japanese troops during World War II, Chang Kai-Shek, commander of the Chinese Nationalist Army, destroyed a dike along the Yellow River flooding thousands of miles of farmland, killing an estimated 800,000 Chinese, and displacing nearly 4 million.
It is highly unlikely that China would ever deliberately unleash such a destructive act upon its neighbors, but the fact remains that it wields enormous leverage as an upstream nation by its ability to control life’s most essential resource.
High in the Himalayan Mountains are what has been dubbed the “Water Towers of Asia.” Seven of the continent’s greatest rivers start life here including the Mekong, Ganges, Yangtze, Indus and Irrawaddy. What begins as dribble from snow melt in the Tibetan plateau builds into mighty rivers that flow across China’s borders before eventually reaching South Asia.
To continue reading: China Is Weaponizing Water