We have long followed the horrific record of China on the environment. The Chinese regime has continued to push for high production rates as the number of “cancer villages” and lethal pollution rises across the country. This record has made China the worse environmental violator in the world. Now, greed has combined with power to make for what could be one of the greatest single environmental losses with China expanding its destructive record to Latin America. Ecuador has announced a plan to auction off more than three million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies. The loss of such pristine areas (and unique species within it) will cause incalculable damage to feed China’s insatiable demand for energy.
Indigenous groups and environmentalists have protested the deal with China Petrochemical and China National Offshore Oil. The seven indigenous groups who inhabit the land have objected that they have not consented to the sale. However, Ecuador’s secretary of hydrocarbons, Andrés Donoso Fabara, has attacked the tribes in opposing his surrender of large amounts of his nation to a foreign government with the worst environmental record in the world. I suppose that can be expected from someone called the “Secretary of Hydrocarbons.” Fabara insisted “These guys with a political agenda, they are not thinking about development or about fighting against poverty.” He reminded everyone that “We are entitled by law, if we wanted, to go in by force and do some activities even if they are against them.” In other words, the Chinese will have their way with Ecuador.
The disgraceful sale also reflected how China has used debt to pressure countries, including the United States. Ecuador owes China more than £4.6bn ($7bn) — more than a tenth of its GDP. China has loaned the country billions of dollars in exchange for oil shipments.
The cost will not just be felt by these tribes. The destruction of these rainforests will contribute to global warming and accelerate the loss of species. Those species will not only reduce diversity in this world but many likely hold medical and scientific breakthroughs. We have found key treatments for diseases and illnesses in such rare species. In other words, we are slitting our own throats in the loss of these areas. China’s aggressive effort to secure these areas reaffirms its opposition to basic environmental protections and its intent to expand its environmental damage around the world.