I am very delighted to be joined by the distinguished guests present here today for this very important ceremony. The Embassy of China in Kenya will officially hand over another batch of anti-poaching equipment to four wildlife conservancies through the East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) and the Mara Conservation Fund (MCF).
This humble donation will enhance the capacity of four wildlife conservancies to provide security cover through targeted patrols in the northern rangelands and the Coast.
First of all, let me thank the Government of Kenya for its strong support towards this function. My appreciation also goes to EAWLS and MCF, for their invaluable partnership.
Three months ago, Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang visited the Ivory Burning Site Monument in Nairobi National Park, together with H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.
During that visit, Premier Li addressed Chinese and foreign journalists and I quote: “The Chinese people love nature as well as peace. The Chinese side highly appreciates and respects the hard efforts and significant achievements in wildlife conservation made by the Kenyan government and people. China is strongly committed to protecting wildlife, and will spare no effort in combating poaching and ivory smuggling”.
This is another strong commitment, to Kenya, to Africa and to the world. Together with the achievements China has made, we are taking more and more resolute actions.
A number of policies have been adopted to promote ecological progress, and incorporate it into all aspects and the whole process of advancing economic, political, cultural, and social progress. A full range of rules and regulations were put in place with the Law on Protection of Wildlife being the centrepiece. To enforce strict compliance, offenders are liable life imprisonment.
In 2013, Chinese forestry and public security organs cracked down on more than 60 cases involving 100 offenders. In the process over 1,000 kilograms of ivory were confiscated. Last January, China destroyed 6.1 tons of confiscated ivory products, in effect demonstrating its consistent position to firmly oppose and combat illicit wildlife trade, including illegal ivory trade. Our robust controls have sent a powerful message to wildlife poachers, traffickers and illegal users of wildlife products that the Chinese government is totally against wildlife destruction.
China adheres to enhanced publicity and education as a way of deepening public understanding of illegal wildlife trade and in particular the illegal ivory trade. Forthwith, all Chinese nationals, upon their arrival in Kenya, will receive an automatic SMS message, alerting them of the importance of protecting wildlife. In January, my Embassy and State Forestry Administration of China held a workshop on wildlife protection in Nairobi to educate and inform the Chinese community against poaching and illegal trade of wildlife.
Thanks to the unremitting efforts, the Chinese people are responding positively and proactively to contribute to the well being of African wildlife. Mr Simba present here today is the Chair of MCF and a Chinese national. He has been working in Kenya for many years, devoting his time and energy to the protection of lions, elephants and other wildlife. Several weeks ago, a group of young students from Tsinghua University of China, initiated a volunteer activity here in Kenya to advocate wildlife conservation and promote interaction in this regard with their counterparts in the University of Nairobi. These actions that serve as examples will, without any doubt increase in days to come.
Wildlife crimes are a cross-border menace. To combat wildlife crimes calls for international joint efforts where all stakeholders share the common responsibilities and objectives.
China has actively participated in the relevant international cooperation and will continue to do so. We became a contracting party to the “Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)” since 1981. Representatives from Chinese government attended the African Elephant Summit held in Gaborone, Botswana last December and the London International Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade last February and positively contributed to the ongoing dialogue.
Over and above, we have signed inter-governmental agreements on wildlife conservation agreements with a number of countries. We have worked with countries in Asia, Africa and North America to successfully carry out the joint operation Cobra I and Cobra II to crack down on wildlife crimes and achieved remarkable results. Early this year, through the joint efforts of China and Kenya, two Chinese ivory trafficking suspects were arrested in Kenya and repatriated to China. They will be sent for trial by the Chinese judicial organs.
China has provided its assistance in wildlife protection to several African countries. During Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Africa, he emphasized at the Africa Union Headquarters that ecological cooperation is one of the six key areas of the future China-Africa cooperation.
He also announced that China will provide Africa with USD 10million in the next few years for wildlife conservation and establish a China-Africa Joint Research Centre in Nairobi to serve this purpose. Indeed, the Governments of China and Kenya signed an agreement on China’s grants to Kenya on wildlife conservation during Premier Li’s stay in Kenya, which will be carried out in the near future.
Today’s donation is limited. However, it will once again demonstrate our strong commitment and resolute and unwavering action with regard to wildlife conservation.
I assure you that more action will follow as will support to fulfil our promise. We firmly believe that, through joint efforts, the drive of combating wildlife crimes will achieve success.
(Liu made this statement at the handover ceremony of anti-poaching equipment)