Gongtan Township, China, April 6, 2007—A villager carries furniture on his back as he and 22,000 others evacuate the ancient riverside town of Gongtan in southern China.
Renowned for its well-preserved wooden architecture, the 1,700-year-old town is being emptied before a hydroelectric plant is completed on the nearby Yangtze River, a project that is expected to flood Gongtan.
The Chinese government has said it will relocate the townspeople to another settlement about 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) away. But some villagers have resisted the move, citing poor planning and inadequate compensation for their losses.
"We have a scenic town with a history of 1,700 years," one resident told the Reuters news service. "Nobody will come to the new town because it won't have this ancient flavor."