Saturday, August 22, 1998 Published at 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
China blames floods on deforestation
Soldiers and sandbags battle against nature
The authorities in China have admitted for the first time that excessive exploitation of natural resources could be behind this year's devastating floods.
The articles appeared as efforts continued in north-eastern China to hold back record high water levels around Harbin city in north-east China.
Flooding has been 0.75m higher than in 1957, the year that held the previous record for the worst flooding.
Local officials said there had been no major breaches, but there had been some leaks. Troops have been reinforcing the embankments with more sandbags and pumping out water which has seeped through.
While downtown defences have generally held, lower-lying land on the edges of Harbin is already under water and some people have been forced to leave their homes.
One of main bridges across the river has been closed and state television has reported that troops have been called in to help re-open the city's flooded waterworks.
The waterfront Stalin Park has been closed after water seeped through a hastily-built wall of sandbags.
The president of China, Jiang Zemin, has postponed a trip to Russia and Japan because of the severity of the floods.
The immediate danger to China's biggest oilfields around Daqing, near Harbin, has receded, even though hundreds of wells remain under threat.
Throughout Harbin, people have been donating money to flood-relief efforts and a nationally-televised charity concert featuring pop stars and celebrities - some from Hong Kong and Taiwan - collected a reported $45m.
Not everyone has joined in the spirit. One local newspaper reported that four people had been arrested after stealing lorry loads of sand intended for Harbin's flood defences.
And as flood defences are strengthened in China's cities, villages are being surrendered to the waters.
In Controlling Water village in the Northern Chinese province of Heilongjiang, the main street is awash after the river broke through a dike.
The devastation is just as widespread in central China where the Yangtze river has remained above emergency levels for more than a month.