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China’s largest freshwater lake has become the center of controversy after the local government revived a plan to build a dam across it, a project shelved six years ago after environmental protests. Now the developers say they have a new reason to build the barrier — helping the environment.

Three times the size of London, Poyang Lake is one of the nation’s most important wetlands, and the revived battle between authorities and protest groups raises the question of whether provincial governments are using Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s call for an "ecological civilization” to repackage development projects and sell them as benefiting nature.

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