views updated May 11 2018

Yangtze (Chang Jiang) River in China, the longest in Asia and third-longest in the world. Rising in the Kunlun Mountains in ne Tibet, it flows 6300km (3900mi) through the central Chinese provinces to the East China Sea near Shanghai. It was joined to the Huang He by the Grand Canal in 610. Navigation becomes difficult at the spectacular Yangtze Gorges, between Chungking and Yichang, but after Yichang (site of the huge Gezhouba Dam) it enters the fertile lowlands of Hubei province. The Yangtze and its main tributaries traverse one of the world's most populated areas, providing water for irrigation and hydroelectricity. It is China's most economically important waterway. The government's controversial ‘Three Gorges Dam’ scheme e of Fengjie, destined to take 15 years to complete, will create a reservoir c.600km (375mi) long, and displace c.1.2 million people.