The scarcity of overseas tree resources is sought after by the wealthy Chinese

At the end of July, 153 Chinese citizens were sentenced to life imprisonment for illegal logging in Kachin State in the northernmost part of Myanmar. The area is rich in mouth-watering teak, rosewood, beech, ebony and mahogany. Recently, the Myanmar authorities granted them the freedom to act as a gesture of goodwill to China, the country's largest trading partner.

Every year, thousands of precious pomelo trees protected by the Burmese Forest Law and other types of trees protected by the timber export ban passed in 2014 are transported to eastern China. They were made there as teak floors for luxury buildings, or mahogany chairs, tables and cabinets. Hongmu used to be the exclusive consumer goods of the Chinese elite, and nowadays is eager for the Chinese new class. One-piece mahogany furniture can cost as much as $1 million or more.

Today, Burmese timber is not the only victim of China. Indonesia, the world's third-largest carbon emission rate, ordered a temporary ban on logging four years ago. However, since then, the country’s forests have continued to be felled. In 2013, half of the world's illegally harvested timber came from Indonesia and was eventually shipped to China.

At the same time, Cambodia's forest harvesting rate ranks third in the world. 85% of the timber exported by the country flows to China. According to regional statistics, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, ranked sixth in the world in terms of forest coverage, established a system for applying for logging permits to combat deforestation. However, industrial-scale tree felling continues to be local. 90% of the country's tree felling activities are illegal. Last year, 65% of the country's timber was exported to China.

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