Fine words butter no parsnips – more rhetoric but still little real action from China.  KS

Daily News (Tanzania)

The East Asian economic giant has vowed never to tolerate the illegal activities, hinting that it fully supports Africa’s efforts to crack down on the ivory smuggling.

Director General of African Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dai Bing, has spoken tough on ivory smuggling, condemning the business as a serious violation of international laws.

The foreign affairs senior official was addressing members of the press from Africa who are in the world’s most populous nation for a 10-month special media training. Mr Dai’s statement comes a few months after China, once the world’s largest market for elephants’ tusks declared all trade on ivory and its related products illegal.

The ban was announced last year by Chinese leadership and came into effect on December 31, 2017. The move was hailed as a great attempt to protect the world’s elephant population.

Tanzania boasts of the continent’s largest elephant population though the wildlife-rich East African nation experienced a considerable loss of large-plant eating mammals, fuelled by huge demand for ivory. Mr Dai noted that China was determined to protect wildlife in Africa and it was taking all necessary steps to ensure that the war against poaching yields positive results.

“You may be aware that some individual Chinese engage in smuggling of ivory from Africa. These are isolated cases and I wish to stress that the government will not tolerate that…we are taking necessary measures,” he said. The diplomat insisted that smuggling of ivory was the violation of Africa’s laws, international laws but more importantly, Chinese laws.

Meanwhile, Mr Dai said that China attaches great importance to green development by formulating tough environmental regulations to make their activities on African soil eco-friendly. “We are taking serious measures to ensure that we do not bring pollution to Africa.

We have no intention to pollute the blue skies, beautiful mountains and clean waters in the continent,” he noted. He explained that in the past 20 years, China made it clear that it did not want to follow the path of developed countries which pollute first and treat later and that the country has made a strong determination to realise her objective.

“If you visited Beijing seven years ago, air pollution in the city was much more serious than it is today. With this serious lesson, we are more keen and aware that in our cooperation with Africa we should not cause pollution,” he affirmed.