News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

China Pres. Xi Jinping illegal ivory buying spree in Africa with delegation and businessmen in 2013 caused illegal ivory prices to skyrocket. No security checks for diplomats, bags of ivory put on pres. plane. Demand for illegal ivory in China main cause of elephant slaughter in Africa-BBC

11/6/14, "China officials with Xi Jinping made 'Tanzania ivory spree'," BBC

"Officials travelling to Tanzania with Chinese President Xi Jinping went on a buying spree for illegal ivory, an environmental activist group has said.

In a report, the Environmental Investigation Agency cited two ivory merchants who said the arrival of the delegation in 2013 fuelled demand.

The amount of ivory purchased by them sent local prices soaring, it added.

Conservationists say demand for ivory, where China is seen as the biggest market, is fuelling poaching in Africa

The Chinese use ivory in traditional crafts and carvings are prized as status symbols, correspondents say.

In recent years poaching has increased across sub-Saharan Africa with criminal gangs slaughtering elephants for ivory
.
China's government has not yet made any public comment on the allegations in the report.

'Security checks averted'
 
The EIA report cited a trader in Tanzania's main port city, Dar es Salaam, named as Suleiman Mochiwa, who met undercover investigators. 

He said that when the Chinese government and business delegation arrived ivory prices in the local market doubled to $700 (£438) per kilo during the visit.

"The [delegation]... used the opportunity to procure such a large amount of ivory that local prices increased," the report says.

Investigators alleged that the Chinese could take advantage of a lack of security checks for those in the country on a diplomatic visit

"The two traders claimed that a fortnight before the state visit, Chinese buyers began purchasing thousands of kilos of ivory, later sent to China in diplomatic bags on the presidential plane," the report added.

It was Xi Jinping's first foreign tour as head of state. 

Traders told the group that similar ivory sales took place on an earlier trip by China's former President Hu Jintao

The ivory trade was banned in 1989 by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites). Both China and Tanzania are signatories. 

China does have around 150 legal, government-licensed ivory shops, which sells ivory collected prior to this. They are the only places allowed to sell ivory to individual buyers.

Earlier this year China for the first time destroyed a large quantity of confiscated ivory, in a public event described by conservation groups as a landmark move. 

Just over six tonnes of carvings, ornaments and tusks amassed over the years were fed into crushing machines.

Nevertheless officials warn that demand for ivory across Asia has led to thousand of elephants being killed in Africa."
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"Analysis: Celia Hatton, BBC News, Beijing"

"The illegal ivory trade is flourishing in China, where many prize ivory carvings as valuable status symbols.

However, a portion of Chinese society, including some parts of the government, is working to eradicate illicit ivory sales.

The country's state media publicises the arrests of smugglers and, earlier this year, the first televised destruction of confiscated ivory. 

However, education campaigns have a long way to go. 

Some in China don't realise that one has to kill an elephant in order to harvest its tusks. In Chinese, the term for ivory is translated literally as "elephant tooth", leading a sizeable portion of the population to believe, in error, that elephants can re-grow their tusks.

Complicating the issue is that China allows limited sales of legal ivory. Conservationists, both inside China and outside its borders, argue that the government needs to ban sales completely in order to stop the trade in its tracks."

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[China of course denies the report. They know they can do whatever they want, no one ever holds them to account for anything. "Allegations without evidence" is a "non-denial denial."]:

"'Not believable'"
 
"The report is groundless, and we express our strong dissatisfaction," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei is quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

The director of China's endangered species import and export management office also dismissed the claims: "Allegations without evidence are not believable," Meng Xianlin said.

A spokesmen for the Tanzanian government, Assah Mwambene, said the EIA was trying to "frustrate" efforts to halt the ivory trade. "Everybody knows we have been at the forefront of fighting this illegal trade.""...


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Nov. 2014, "Vanishing Point: Criminality, Corruption, and the Devastation of Tanzania's Elephants," Environmental Investigation Agency






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