July 23, 2015

"China has taken small steps in recent years to address the issue, including the creation of a national timber tracking system that companies can participate in to help better identify the sources of their timber."

Wall Street Journal Myanmar’s jailing of scores of Chinese allegedly caught illegally logging is deepening a rift between Beijing and Yangon, and highlighting the stress on the country’s forests from China’s demand for wood. By Te-Ping Chen

'This week, a court in Myitkyina, the capital of the Kachin state, sentenced 153 Chinese nationals to life imprisonment after they were found involved in illegal logging, according to the Myanmar government. The Chinese foreign ministry said Wednesday that it lodged a diplomatic protest with Yangon over the ruling and urged the country to “take China’s concerns seriously, take all the factors into account and properly handle this case.”

'Ye Htut, Myanmar presidential spokesman, said that the government’s action is consistent with the law and that the loggers have the right to appeal the sentences. A Myanmar defense lawyer said life sentences in Myanmar are typically treated as 20- to 25-year terms.

'Previously close relations between Myanmar and China have become strained over a range of issues, from Yangon’s attempts to lessen economic dependence on China to Beijing’s anger this year over border fighting that spilled into Chinese territory. Concerns in Myanmar about the plunder of resources are part of the stress.'

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