China supports Tanzania’s trial of ivory smuggler

Chinese businesswoman Yang Feng Glan, dubbed the "Ivory Queen", sits inside the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania February 19, 2019. REUTERS/Emmanuel Herman
Chinese businesswoman Yang Fenglan, dubbed the “Ivory Queen”, sits inside the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania February 19, 2019. REUTERS/Emmanuel Herman

China on Wednesday voiced support for Tanzania’s sentencing of a Chinese businesswoman to 15 years in prison for smuggling elephant tusks.

According to media reports, Yang Fenglan, a Chinese businesswoman dubbed the “Ivory Queen,” was convicted on Tuesday by a Tanzanian court of smuggling about two tonnes of elephant tusks.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press briefing that China has consistently attached great importance to protecting endangered wild fauna and flora and diligently complied with relevant international obligations.

Geng said that since 2015, China has promulgated measures banning imports of ivory carving, imports of ivory as hunting trophies and commercial processing and sales of ivory domestically, which have won acclaim worldwide.

“The Chinese government shows “zero tolerance” to activities involving illegal trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora and related products, bringing relevant criminals to justice in a resolute and lawful manner, said the spokesperson.

China has always demanded that its overseas nationals abide by local laws and regulations, never shielding illegal or criminal acts of its nationals, added Geng.

“We support the Tanzanian authorities in conducting a just investigation and trial of the case,” Geng said, adding that China stands ready to work with the international community including Tanzania in protecting endangered wild fauna and flora as well as curbing their illegal trade.