Finnish-Swedish forestry and biomaterials company Stora Enso is planning to build massive board and pulp mills in Beihai city in Guangxi, Southern China. The project began in 2002 and has been surrounded by controversy and accusations of misconduct. It has caused irreparable damage to the people and the environment in Guangxi region.
The project has displaced local people of their lands without their free and prior consent. Thousands of people's access to vital resources such as farmland and water has been restricted.
There have been several recorded incidents of organised, violent attacks on dissenting villages who have refused to lease their lands for the project. Many of the contracts have been found fraudulent and people have not received payments for their lands. Local residents have further complained of eucalyptus plantations depleting water sources and hindering other livelihoods in the region. Local authorities do not allow open criticism against the project.
Lawyer Yang Zaixin has been representing local residents and farmers who claim to have been forced or threatened into giving up their lands. He was unlawfully imprisoned for 15 months, from June 2011 until September 2012, when he was suddenly released without charges. For years already, local authorities have pressured him to stop investigating ”the eucalyptus case”. In 2012, Yang Zaixin has become known outside China from the documentary film Red Forest Hotel by Mika Koskinen.
The board and pulp mill plans in Beihai should be halted. The killings and beatings must be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice, and the fraudulent land-leasing contracts must be reviewed. Environmental damage caused by the plantations must be repaired.
More information about the documentary film Red Forest Hotel: www.redforesthotelthemovie.com
Report on Chinese human rights lawyers by Amnesty International: http://www.amnesty.org.au/china/comments/26080/
Petition in Finnish/ Vetoomus suomeksi: http://www.adressit.com/lakimies_yang_zaixin_vapautettava