Chinese Ambassador to Kenya H.E. Dr. Liu Xianfa's Article Themed "Wildlife Protection Cooperation strengthens China-Kenya and China-Africa relations" Published on The Nation and Standard Newspaper

The following article written by H.E. Dr. Liu Xianfa, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, was published on The Nation Newspaper on 29th February and The Standard Newspaper on 6th March, 2016.


Wildlife Protection Cooperation strengthens China-Kenya and China-Africa relations

By H.E. Dr. Liu Xianfa

Animals are good friends of man. Being blessed with abundant animal resources, Kenya is wildlife heaven in the world. Kenyan people treasure, take good care of and protect animals consciously and voluntarily. For a long time, Kenyan government and people have been made unremitting efforts in protecting wildlife and achieved remarkable success. Poaching, for example, has decreased 80%.

As of Kenya, China attaches significant importance to environmental and wildlife protections. The idea of the unity between nature and human is cherished and stressed by the Chinese philosophy and culture. Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. Under the guidance of this idea, China continues to intensify its efforts to protect environment. At present, China is formulating the 13th Five-Year Plan and will pursue innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development in the future, this manifesting its strong commitment to promoting sustainable development and ecological progress to build a Beautiful China.

One goal of building a Beautiful China is to protect rare or endangered species. Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Wildlife was enacted in 1988 and China acceded to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in 1981. Besides, China signed wildlife protection cooperation agreements with Kenya and other countries and jointly carried out Operation Cobra, forcefully cracking down on illicit trading of wild fauna and flora. China also strengthen publicity and education of wildlife protection. The concept of “no dealings, no killings” enjoys popular support in China.

China dealt heavy blow to illegal ivory trade. Last year saw two temporary bans imposed by Chinese government on the import of carved African ivory products and African ivory acquired as hunting trophies respectively. Last year also saw several times destruction of confiscated ivory in public by Chinese authorities. Additional, China established International Fund for Elephant Conservation, providing support and donations for African countries and elephant conservation projects. In 2015, during the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the United States of America, China and the United States commit to enact nearly complete bans on ivory import and export. China is ready to have concrete discussions with US and Africa on the tripartite cooperation of wildlife protection on the basis of “Proposed by Africa, agreed by Africa, lead by Africa”.

Wildlife protection is one of the key areas between China-Africa and China-Kenya cooperation. In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out at the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation that China-Africa cooperation will never be pursued at the expense of Africa’s eco-system and long-term interests. During his state visit to Zimbabwe, President Xi Jinping inspected a local wildlife sanctuary and fed the elephants and giraffes with fruits and leaves. In 2014, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited the Ivory Burning Site Monument in the Nairobi National Park with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and met the press. These actions signaled that China and Africa’s common and firm commitment to the cause of wildlife protection.

These years saw closer cooperation between China and Kenya through joint law enforcement, capacity building, material assistance, and public education in promoting the cause of wildlife protection at levels of the government, enterprises and community.

In 2014, the law enforcement departments of China and Kenya jointly busted a criminal gang based in Kenya smuggling ivory to China. In 2015, China donated equipment worth USD 537,000 to the Kenya Wildlife Service to strengthen wildlife protection, which is welcomed by Kenyan side. Recently, Chinese embassy in Kenya and East African Wild Life Society jointly launched a special edition of Swara magazine in Chinese, and will give them out in airports and international flights including China Southern Airlines.

Chinese enterprises in Kenya pay great attention to wildlife protection when building projects. Take the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR Project for example, 14 passages, 600 culverts and 61 bridges are designed and built for the animal migration, and protective gratings are also erected in the routes neighboring parks and wetlands for fear that animals encounter risks.

Recent years also saw more and more Chinese volunteers came to Kenya and devoted themselves to the cause of wildlife protection. Chinese Young Volunteers from Tsinghua University last year arrived at Masai Mara National Reserve, recorded, using the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, the positions and routs of lions, elephants and so on so as to carry out anti-poaching patrol and wildlife rescue cooperation with their Kenyan counterparts.

600 years ago, the great navigator Zheng He paid a visit to Malindi and brought giraffes, the gift of local people, back to China. They are regarded as auspicious and benevolent, and also cherished and protected by the Chinese people. Today, more than 40,000 Chinese tourists visited Kenya annually, admiring the animal migration, and understanding the beautiful Kenya. My embassy colleagues’ kids often visited the Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, claiming and feeding calf elephants, and last became not only the good friends of the baby elephant but also the volunteers of protecting elephants.

My impression is that people in China and Kenya, adults and children alike, all love animals and cherish the nature. We all live under the same roof, and need to work together to protect the treasure of the nature, wildlife, for the earth is our only home. Only by doing so, our world will become more and more beautiful in the future.

The writer is Chinese Ambassador to Kenya.

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