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» 03/24/2006
CHINA
China is black hole of Asia's deforestation

The Chinese market imports more than 50% of timber from countries where illegal logging is rife and where deforestation is destroying the lives of the "poorest communities in the world".



Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China is the main channel for illegal logging in Asia while the United States, Europe and Japan are the key markets for timber products and furniture coming from countries where the illicit practice is widespread and human rights are ignored.

This was revealed in a report issued in Jakarta today, 24 March, by Forest Trends, the Centre for International Forestry Research, and the Centre for Chinese Agricultural Policy. The report is entitled "China and the Global Market for Forest Products" and is based on five years of research.

It found that about 70 per cent of all timber imported to China, the largest consumer in the world, was converted into furniture, plywood and other processed products for export. Beijing has captured 33 per cent of the global furniture trade over the past eight years, and the thriving business, coupled with its domestic demand for paper and wood products, is devastating forests and forest communities around the world.

"Few consumers realise that the cheap prices they pay are directly linked to the exploitation of some of the poorest people on earth," author Andy White said.

The report urges the Chinese government to act to strengthen domestic reform policies related to timber, improve productivity and focus more on ecosystem protection. Such steps would help Beijing and the industry to cut the country's reliance on imports that fuel illegal logging elsewhere. China accounts for more than 50 per cent of exports from Papua New Guinea, Myanmar and Indonesia.

In Indonesia, 80 per cent of the timber market is held to be illegal, with poor forest protection and obscure laws adding to prevalent problems. The report predicted that "at present rates, natural forests in Indonesia would be logged out in 10 years, Papua New Guinea in 13 to 16 years". And the "situation in Myanmar is no better, and may be even worse".

Jakarta has tried to crack down on illegal exports of wood to China, estimated to be worth more than US billion a year, while Beijing has decided to tax luxury products like yachts.

The Chinese government has also decided to impose a special tax on chopsticks and wood panels, used in all restaurants in the country. "For their production, more than 1.3 million cubic metres of wood are used," said the Chinese Finance Minister. "This puts unsustainable pressure on the country's already beleaguered forest resources." But this move seems to be merely a drop in the ocean.


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See also
06/02/2006 MYANMAR - CHINA
Beijing tries to clamp down on illegal timber imports from Myanmar
11/14/2006 CHINA – SOUTH KOREA
China: new economic policies cause Korean firms to leave
by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
09/28/2005 CHINA
China: Paper production boom destroys Asian forests
12/30/2009 CHINA
To continue growth, China refuses to reevaluate the yuan
12/27/2006 INDONESIA
Flooding kills 109 people in Sumatra

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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