11 Jailed Over Plot To Sell Sacred Tree’s Wood

Crooks who hacked wood from a 2,600-year-old sacred tree to sell as lucky charms have been jailed by a court in China.

The 11 accused – imprisoned for up to four years – had been found guilty of desecrating the ancient nanmu tree in Guizhou Province.

Four other defendants are understood to have been fined.

The tree is nationally protected under Chinese law and worshipped by followers, who gather up and pray to its fallen leaves in autumn.

Defendants were also accused of destroying seven other nanmu trees – also protected in China – and ordered to pay a CNY 150,000 (GBP 17,535) fine.

Picture shows the court members hearing the case in Guizhou Province, China, undated. Eleven people were sentenced for destroying the 2600-year-old tree. (Guizhou High Court/AsiaWire)

They also have to pay a CNY 290,000 (GBP 33,900) bill to rescue the ancient tree, a statement from the Guizhou High People’s Court declared on 18th April.

The tree – known as the ‘King of Ancient Nanmu’ – is believed to have sprouted between 770–476 BC.

Followers regard it as a sacred tree with spiritual significance.

Its fallen leaves and branches are often brought home by villagers who worship them.

But locals were shocked to discover that a large piece of wood from the six-foot wide tree had been cut out on 1st February 2022.

It was later found that two of the accused, surnamed Lu and Zhang, had cut and sold parts of the tree between September and December of 2021.

They sold stolen nanmu timbers to fellow defendants surnamed Luo and Yang and others, who later transported and resold them to other provinces.

It is reported they made CNY 414,700 (GBP 48,496) from the scam.

Picture shows the sentencing site in Guizhou Province, China, undated. Eleven people were sentenced for destroying the 2600-year-old tree. (Guizhou High Court/AsiaWire)

Fortunately, the ancient tree they had seriously damaged remains alive and keeps growing.

It has since been placed under round-the-clock CCTV surveillance with security guards.

A forest ranger has also been arranged to patrol the area and make sure the ancient tree is not suffering from disease or pests.

The defendants were given prison sentences ranging from 10 months to four years and their illegal profits were confiscated.

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Story By: Simona KitanovskaSub-EditorMarija Stojkoska, Agency: Asia Wire Report

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