According to news reports, Ecuador plans to auction off more than three million hectares of Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies amid outrage coming from the natives. The local communities claim that the decision has been taken by the Ecuadorian government without their consent.
Amazon Watch, a California-based NGO, says there are seven indigenous groups that claim the plan was initiated without their approval. They believe that the oil projects would devastate the pristine environment of the rainforest and would also disrupt their traditional way of living.
In central Beijing, on Monday, a group of Ecuadorian politicians and Chinese oil companies including China Petrochemical and China National Offshore Oil met for the bidding process. There have been previous meetings in Ecuadorian capital Quito, one in Houston and another in Paris but each of them received a great deal of criticism and even protests from people who condemn the plan to “invade” Amazon.
The Amazonian jungle represents half of the remaining rainforests of the planet and is also significant for its (bio) diversity of species. It is not only important for the people who inhabit the land but also for the ecosystem as a whole. And this is the reason why the natives and environmental and human rights proponents do not support the idea of destroying it by selling it to Chinese oil companies, well-known for their aggressive attitude.
Critics say that this issue can be related to debt. Reports cite that Ecuador owed China £4.6bn ($7bn) as of last summer, more than a tenth of its GDP. China also helped the Amazonian country to build two of its biggest hydroelectric projects and a $12.5 billion oil refinery in Ecuador may soon build with Chinese financing.
China is being criticized for its voracious thirst for energy. Upsetting the ecosystem of the Amazonian rainforest is just not acceptable, at least to the people who live there and people who want to protect the environment. The inhabitants of Amazon are angry and claim that the government is planning everything without their consent.
The recognized Ecuadorian local organizations wrote in an open letter that: “We demand that public and private oil companies across the world not participate in the bidding process that systematically violates the rights of seven indigenous nationalities by imposing oil projects in their ancestral territories.” It still remains to be seen whether or not the projects will still be carried out.