Deogratius Kamagi, The Daily News
China will continue providing full support on anti-poaching initiatives by African countries to have sustainable natural resources for the development of present and future generations. Again, it has assured that the government will never even support its citizens who are engaged in poaching and other illegal business of national trophies, including ivory.
The Director General of the Department of International Cooperation of China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA), Mr Meng Xianlin made the statements here over the weekend, insisting that the Chinese government is also concerned with the effects of poaching in Africa.
“We are supporting initiatives by African countries, including Tanzania towards ending poaching and we shall continue working together to curb poaching for sustainable development,” he said.
On implementing the joint projects, China has been organising various workshop trainings, exchange programmes and providing financial supports to developing countries in Africa, including Tanzania.
“The programmes have so far been held in Tanzania, Kenya Malawi, Ethiopia, Uganda, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Namibia, South Africa and Botswana,” he said.
The senior official also trashed notion on the presence of huge market for Ivory in China, saying strict laws have been put in place as part of efforts to end the illicit trade and elephant poaching. He however challenged African countries to continue taking strong measures, good plans, policies and strategies against poaching.
Earlier, NFGA’s Director of Law Enforcement Wu Zhongze said China has expanded an interdepartmental project to better fight the illegal trade of wildlife, with 25 central level agencies joining the drive.
“China will not even support its citizen who will be caught and charged of offences relating to poaching, we will have nothing to do but let them face the law,” he insisted.
Statements from the two have come hardly a month after a Chinese woman Yang Feng, ‘Queen of Ivory,’ was sentenced 15 years in jail after she was found guilty of smuggling 860 elephant tusks worth 13bn/- in February this year.
The Queen of Ivory who was arrested in Dar es Salaam in September 2015 after a yearlong manhunt, was sentenced along with her two Tanzanian co-accused—Manase Julius Philemon and Salivius Francis Matembo.