Chinese Diplomats Accused Of Smuggling Ivory Out of Tanzania During Presidential Visit By Xi Jinping

Xi_Jinping_October_2013_(cropped)170px-Ivory_tradeChina has long been the greatest driving force in the trafficking of endangered species parts and ivory to fuel its traditional medicine market and jewelry market. We have discussed recent cases (here and here and here) of seizures of huge amounts of illegal animal parts going to China, which also set shocking records for pollution and contamination. Throughout these continual arrests and stories, the Chinese government simply insists that they are combatting such trafficking. Now however an environmental watchdog is accusing the government itself in trafficking. the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency says that Chinese officials used a state trip by President Xi Jinping and other high-level visits to smuggle ivory out of Tanzania. Worse yet, the Chinese are accused of using diplomatic bags to load huge amounts of ivory on planes as a government-maintained illegal trafficking operation.

China has never hidden its desire for ivory, even on the government level. In a very controversial move in 2008, Beijing was allowed to purchase 62 tons of ivory under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species. China said that the ivory was needed to maintain its cultural industry of ivory carvers — an industry that obviously fuels the massacre of these animals. Poaching has now killed off half of Tanzania’s elephants and China remains the world’s largest importer of smuggled tusks.

The Chinese reportedly used corrupt Tanzanian officials to load the ivory into diplomatic bags on Xi’s plane during a presidential visit in March 2013. Notably, when confronted with the allegation, Meng Xianlin, director general of the Endangered Species Import and Export Management Office of China, insisted “I don’t think there’s hard evidence, and I have not seen such cases.” Meng said EIA has been “unfriendly to China for quite some time.” Well all environmentalists have been “unfriendly to China for quite some time” since it is actively destroying rain forests around the world, polluting not just its own but other countries, and fueling the extinction of endangered animals.

EIA says that its investigators have been following the trafficking by Chinese diplomats in Tanzania since 2006. Two traders admitted to being thousands of kilograms of ivory for the trip by Chinese president. In 2013, a Chinese national was caught trying to met two Chinese naval officers at a port with 81 illegal tusks.

Notably, after the presidential trip, the price of ivory soared in Tanzania due to the sharp decline in supply after Chinese officials allegedly bought up the market.

Source: BBC

11 thoughts on “Chinese Diplomats Accused Of Smuggling Ivory Out of Tanzania During Presidential Visit By Xi Jinping”

  1. China’s simply awful environmental record and filthy air get a back seat to more sensational news stories. Now, if Kim Kardashian would take her enhanced butt to Africa in protest of the ivory debacle…..

  2. Paul, Duh. bag/pouch is the nomenclature. I believe in using the correct term. But, thanks!

  3. Diplomatic bags are the ultimate smuggling tool. I knew a guy in college who had a source for hashish from Afghanistan via a diplomat. You cannot have a more secure source than a diplomat and their bags. Drugs, jewels, laundered money, stolen art, etc. via diplomatic means has long been the Holy Grail of conveyance. Before the internet, much of the Asian child porn came to the US by this failsafe method. I’m sure the Chinese are some of the biggest offenders, but no country is w/o sin.

    1. Nick – bag or pouch is a misnomer. It can be as big as it needs to be and still be covered by diplomatic immunity.

  4. Since Xi is supposed to be purer than pure this could cause some problems. I do hope they are wrong about this. Right now it is more supposition than proof. I am always suspicious of jail house confessions as should everyone.

  5. its a shame that our grandkids, etc…….might not eventually be able to see (other then at maybe a zoo) some of these amazing animals in their native habitats.

  6. People are afraid of a roving band of wackos without an air force (yet… although they should have one soon…) or navy, here is a country whose main bank is bankrolling anyone who wants to buy a US food producer.

    There are threats in this world, and people better start to understand them. While I frequently charge others as being xenophobes, I maintain that the gigantic consuming mass that is China is the biggest threat to all of us.

  7. When I was in China, vendors were reassuring potential customers that ivory-like carvings either were very old or came from walrus tusks or other non-protected species. Basically, used car salesmanship.

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