The official newspaper of China’s communist party has acknowledged that serious environmental problems, engineering difficulties, and corruption plague construction of the Three Gorges Dam. The editorial in the People’s Daily, published today, marks the first time the influential newspaper has been permitted to note problems with the dam project, which if completed as planned would block the Yangtze River and create a 400-mile-long reservoir, necessitating the relocation of 1 million people. The newspaper’s comments indicate a growing opposition to the dam project within the Chinese bureaucracy. Separately, Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji last week warned that severe ecological damage could ensue if local officials continue to move people displaced by the dam project onto mountainsides, exacerbating soil erosion. Few observers expect that the dam will be shelved, though some say it could be scaled back.