Stora Enso has been active for many years in China in a strategy to increase its plantations and pulp production in the (cheaper) South. It plans to build a pulp mill in China.
The company has been accused of legal irregularities in its land acquisitions, including violent acquisition of land through its middlemen. People want their land back, they do not want eucalyptus plantations that affect their agriculture and water resources and eucalyptus that destroys their forest.
In China, all land belongs to the state or to rural communities, so local authorities have tried to seize the land used by the villagers to hand it over to Stora Enso. Many villagers did not believe in the promises of prosperity of the “forest project”. For those who lost their land, compensation was about 50 euros/ha for the expropriated land. This has led to conflict from villagers whose opposition to Stora Enso’s plantations has been confronted with harsh violence by local officials. Land disputes reached a peak in 2005 and several people were injured (a protester died from a skull fracture) or arrested, when Stora Enso took the lands in use, and communities were attacked by police and private groups at the service of Stora Enso and other plantation companies that seek to work with Stora Enso. People have been wounded and even hospitalized. People are forbidden to plant food crops. Those who try to defend them are being intimidated and arrested. Lawyer Yang Zaixin who defends the rights of the villagers was stormed and beaten by a group of men in what seems to be an intimidation to his work. A last resort for protesters seeking justice is an appeal system with roots in imperial times, in which grievances are brought directly to the highest leader in Beijing.
The conflict continues, according to a recent television report (The Redforest Hotel)