Education Resource

Behind the Story: China in the Amazon Rainforest

For a country that has pledged to honor the Paris Agreement, China's food security policy runs counter to its environmental efforts, driving deforestation in Brazil. As the world’s largest consumer of soy, China's hunger has fueled a fight over land use in the Amazon, accelerating the loss of biodiversity and contributing to the global climate emergency.

Journalists Melissa Chan and Heriberto Araújo journeyed to the Amazon for a closer look at China's impact beyond its borders.

In a weakly regulated region, soy farmers and cattle ranchers have encroached on Indigenous and protected areas for years. Under Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, this process has accelerated the climate emergency. Furthermore, the new Ferrogrão railroad, which may become a part of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative, would transform Brazil’s soy industry by connecting its interior to the Amazonian waterways.

What are the costs of the railroad, which would cut through some of the most pristine forests on Earth? Chan and Araújo met Indigenous leaders, fishing communities, environmental activists, and soy producers to learn more.