Feature

Kenya: Elephant blood on China’s hands

China can’t avoid its culpability for the slaughter of elephants in Kenya.

EditorialThe Star

China can’t avoid its culpability for the slaughter of elephants in Kenya, said the Nairobi Star. The poaching “is the result of the soaring world price for ivory, driven by the insatiable demand of the new Chinese middle class for ivory status symbols.” The poachers sell the ivory here in Nairobi to Chinese middlemen, who ship it to China. Just last week, the Chinese ambassador here insisted that it was not his country’s problem because Chinese nationals are not the ones pulling the triggers and poaching the elephants. But that argument is disingenuous at best. “Is it legal to buy stolen property in China? Can you buy a stolen car in China but then argue you are not the thief?” Chinese people may convince themselves that the ivory figurines they buy are antiques, or are carved from some sort of legitimate harvest or leftover stock from better days. But surely Chinese diplomats know better. In Kenya alone, some 2,000 elephants are killed for their tusks every year, and at this rate Africa’s elephants “will be wiped out in the next two decades.” If China were serious about cracking down on illegal ivory, it would halt all ivory imports immediately. It knows full well that “virtually all the ivory arriving in China has been stolen from Africa.”

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