YICHANG, CHINA—Despite ongoing controversy, construction is proceeding as planned on the Three Gorges Dam, which, if all goes according to plan, will generate enough hydroelectric power to shock the genitalia of China's 1.2 billion citizens, Chinese officials said Monday.

Amid controversy, work progresses on the Three Gorges Dam.

"With the successful completion of this most ambitious engineering project, China will finally enter the modern age, forever putting to rest the doubts and misconceptions of those who see our great nation as an undeveloped and socially backwards country," said Chinese president Jiang Zemin, speaking at an official ceremony commemorating the fifth anniversary of the project, which broke ground on Feb. 22, 1994. "This dam will stand alongside the Great Wall of China as one of the true wonders of the world, and, at long last, we will be known as a progressive, industrialized nation that tortures the genitals of its populace in the most technologically advanced manner possible."

"It will indeed be a great day," he added, "when all the people of our nation can stand together and proudly get their genitalia shocked as one."

The $30 billion project will dam the Yangtze River, the third largest in the world and the cradle of Chinese civilization, flooding the entire river valley and creating a 411-mile-wide artificial lake behind the completed structure. Though the dam has come under fire from environmentalists and human-rights groups concerned about the irreparable damage it will cause China's indigenous ecosystems and genitalia, officials at the National People's Congress in Beijing maintain that the dam is necessary, not only to control the oft-raging floodwaters of the Yangtze River system, but to meet the emerging nation's ever-growing need for more genital-electrocution power.

"Nearly three-quarters of the energy currently used to torture the genitalia of China comes from the burning of coal," Chinese Premier Li Peng said in a nationally broadcast radio address all Chinese citizens were required to listen to or risk lifelong prison-camp internment. "Soot and smoke from this coal blankets China's largest cities, and lung disease from this pollution is now second only to genitalia-electrocution as our nation's leading cause of death."

Concluded Li: "Only by converting to cleaner, more modern, more efficient hydroelectric power can we solve this problem and meet our burgeoning genitalia-electrocution needs in the next century and beyond. Thank you. You may now resume your scheduled work-details. War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength."

Though some critics have argued that the project's extensive impact on the heavily populated Yangtze River Valley makes it unfeasible, Chinese officials noted that the forced relocation of the 4.3 million citizens whose homes will be flooded is proceeding ahead of schedule, with over 650,000 already relocated or shot. Responding to objections that the dam will submerge over 1,000 historical sites, the government has promised that the vast majority of these archeological treasures will be moved from harm's way by slave-labor armies of political dissidents and graduate students.

Furthermore, though the dam will cause the extinction of several local species, including the Giant River Sturgeon, Chinese leadership remains convinced that these extinctions are no cause for alarm.

"The Giant River Sturgeon is of no practical value to the People's Republic, anyway," an official statement from Beijing read. "Its genitals are so tiny, they are barely even electrocutable."

Despite the numerous criticisms, the Chinese people are steadfast in their support of the dam.

"I am proud and happy to do my duty and relocate my ancestral farm to a luxurious, modern refugee camp hundreds of miles from here," rice farmer Jiao Huang, 88, told reporters at gunpoint, flanked by an elite squadron of Red Army stormtroopers. "It is my fondest wish that I, though an old man, will live to see the day when my family and I, along with the rest of our countrymen, will be ennobled by the honor of attaching the glorious electrodes of the state to our burn-blackened genitals and together cry out with agonizing pain in celebration of this great achievement for our nation."

"Death to the hated Giant River Sturgeon, enemy of the Republic!" he added, after being prodded with a rifle butt.