At least four million people are to be moved from the area around China's Three Gorges Dam amid warnings of an "environmental catastrophe".
The announcement by state media follows reports that the dam could cause landslides, soil erosion and pollution.
Critics have long warned the dam, the world's largest hydro-electric project, could cause huge environmental damage.
Millions of people are now set to be relocated to the sprawling city of Chongqing at the reservoir's west end.
The vice-mayor of the city, Yu Yuanmu, was quoted as saying the relocations were necessary to "protect the ecology of the reservoir area", which "has a vulnerable environment".
See a graphic and more details about the Three Gorges Dam
The $25bn (£12.5bn) project, across the country's biggest river, the Yangtze, is due to be completed by the end of 2008.
Two weeks ago the dam's head of const
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