PRESS RELEASE: Fertile Ground for Land Grab in China as Local Middlemen and Global Paper Company Flout Farmers’ Land Rights

Date: October 7, 2010

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A new study released today in Washington, DC and Beijing suggests that one of the world’s largest and “greenest” paper companies, in concert with local officials and other middlemen, used illegal means to gain control over thousands of hectares of Chinese forestlands, with a goal of acquiring 120 thousand hectares for a eucalyptus plantation in the Guangxi Autonomous Region of southern China. The authors say their research shows that the middlemen, acting on behalf of Finnish paper and pulp manufacturer Stora Enso, often violated existing laws, and at times used physical threats on farmers who balked at signing over their rights—in essence, undermining the Chinese central government’s recent measures to strengthen farmers’ rights to the nation’s forest lands.

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