UPDATE June 11 - In response to Chinese denial of using ancient "virgin" rainforest timbers in Olympic construction, the sample letter has been updated to demand independent inspections to confirm their dubious claims of running a "Green" and ancient rainforest free Olympics.
Consider this: It has been
widely reported and announced by the Indonesian government that China is to import endangered timbers for Beijing 2008
Olympic construction. According to the Center for International Forestry
China's import of round wood (unprocessed logs) is expected to reach
100 million cubic meters by 2010, a six fold increase in timber imports over
2002, when it was 16 million cubic meters (which is 16 times more than the
figure for 1997). Greenpeace reports that in
imported at least 1.9 million cubic meters of timber associated with illegal
trade. According to China Customs,
China’s timber imports surged during the
first quarter of 2006 by 18 percent to 8.1 million cubic meters. Around 80
percent of timber from Indonesia and 90 percent from Papua New Guinea is
It has been estimated that
China's construction of
infrastructure to host the Olympics will consume tens of millions of cubic
meters of primary forestry products, including solid wood flooring, which could amount to one half of China's annual timber imports. Where will
this massive amount of timber come from? We need more than a cursory, dismissive
and unsubstantiated response to this burning question from the Chinese Olympic
With two-and-a-half years to go until the start of the 2008 Olympics to be
held in Beijing China, the Chinese government and Olympic Committee have recently placed a $1 billion
rush order for endangered rainforest timbers from Indonesia's Papua province to
be used in construction for the games. A proposed timber processing factory
would industrially harvest 800,000 cubic meters of the famous and threatened merbau (intsia
spp) rainforest timbers, to be exported to China for the construction of sports
Indonesia's Papua province on the island of New Guinea has some of the world's last remaining large intact
rainforests. These rainforests are millions of years old, contain untold
biodiversity and evolutionary history, and provide critical regional and global
ecosystem processes including climate regulation through their storage of massive amounts of carbon. These priceless ancient rainforests have come under severe
pressure from the rampant illegal logging of merbau and granting of massive
logging concessions. China already consumes almost all of the estimated 300,000
cubic meters of merbau smuggled out of Papua every month.
Merbau is a dark, luxurious, red wood that is primarily used for the
manufacturing of hardwood floors. The merbau tree is endemic in the Indonesian
provinces of Papua and West Irian, as well as in neighboring Papua New Guinea.
Experts forecast that China's drive to develop its infrastructure to host the
Olympics will consume tens of millions of cubic meters of primary forest products. Setting up the timber plant in Papua was the only way that the company
could meet its timber needs as the Indonesia government has banned the export of
round logs since 2001.
An investment of this size will only serve to legitimize and further fuel illegal, highly unsustainable, and ecologically devastating logging, ensuring the destruction of this critically threatened ancient
rainforest. It is against the Olympic ideals of bringing "people together in
peace to respect universal moral principles" when the events are housed in facilities constructed with ancient rainforest timbers of questionable legality and morality. Please insist the Chinese government and Olympic committee commit to hosting an "old-growth, ancient forest free" Olympics.
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Raping of Indonesia's Rainforests for once off sporting event anathema to Olympic Spirit
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