AMBASSADOR SPEECH 21/11/15
Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Qingyang
At the Workshop on Wildlife Protection
(21 November 2015)
Honorable Bright Musaka, Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining,
Your Excellency Michael Nevin, British High Commissioner to Malawi,
Mr. Ben Botolo, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining,
Mr. Ytupanyama, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining,
Members of Lilongwe Wildlife Trust,
My fellow citizens,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning, everyone! Thank you for sacrificing your weekend time to attend the function today. This workshop is hosted by the Chinese Embassy and co-organized by the National Parks and Wildlife Park affiliated with Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Lilongwe Wildlife Trust and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. The purpose is to join the “Stop Wildlife Crime” campaign in Malawi to raise public awareness on the protection of wildlife, so that everyone will be committed to resisting illegal trade, and contributing to the protection of wildlife in Malawi. Therefore, the theme of our function is – “Protect Wildlife: Awareness and Commitment”.
Let me express my gratitude to the officials from the Malawian government and friends from the media who attended this activity at short notice. There is still such bias around the world. When it comes to the smuggling of wildlife, particularly ivory and ivory products in Africa, the Chinese citizens are always targeted at and thought to be blame. There are a lot of misunderstanding and preconception. I don’t intend to deny the fact that ivory smuggling sometimes involves Chinese people. What I want to point out, however, is that the Chinese government has always been opposed to such crime. We have put into force a number of laws and regulations, and consistently educated our people to comply with international regulations and local laws, and consciously resist illegal trade of wildlife and its products. In this regards, the majority of Chinese citizens are law-abiding. Today’s function is meant to further raise awareness of wildlife protection in the Chinese community in Malawi, so that nobody will be tricked into buying even a small ivory carving. Meanwhile, with better understanding of relevant laws of Malawi, we can step up our joint efforts in participating wildlife protection to the utmost of our capacity. Therefore, today’s function is very important and meaningful.
To enhance the understanding of the function, I would like to highlight the following points:
First, the attitude of the Chinese government on protecting natural environment and stopping wildlife crime has been consistent and clear. The Chinese government has regarded ecological civilization as an important pillar of the overall layout of national development, attached great importance on the protection of elephants and other wildlife, enacted relevant laws and regulations, and worked in close cooperation with the international community to fight against illegal ivory trade. China has imposed an import ban on ivory for one year since October this year. During his visit to the United States this September, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that China will take significant and timely steps to put an end to domestic commercial trade of ivory. These initiatives show the consistent position and explicit attitude of the Chinese government in the fight against illegal trade of wildlife products, as well as in the rescue of endangered species.
Second, all people living in Malawi, including Chinese nationals and Malawian citizens must realize that Chinese and Malawian laws explicitly prohibit wildlife crime. Chinese laws on wildlife protection stipulate that the import and export of wildlife or their products, which are subject to the international convention signed by China, require approval from the department on wildlife in State Council and permit issued by the national administration of endangered species. Malawian laws also make it very clear that it is illegal to possess, buy or sell any wild animal or its parts without a licence. H.E. President Arthur Peter Mutharika has iterated his commitment to combat illegal wildlife trade and protect the ecological environment in Malawi.
Third, I hope that people from both China and Malawi can join hands to raise awareness on Chinese and Malawian laws on wildlife protection, and resolutely resist any wildlife crime. “No trade, no killing.” Buying and selling are final and intermediate links of trade chain respectively. The Chinese compatriots should start from our own, say “no” to ivory and other wildlife products. Malawians also have to raise awareness of wildlife protection, desist from any trade activity of wildlife products.
Fourth, Chinese enterprises and compatriots in Malawi have the responsibility and obligation to participate the protection of elephants and other wildlife. As we devote ourselves to the economic prosperity in Malawi, we should also contribute to the construction of wildlife reserves, the development of eco-tourism and environmental protection in Malawi. With the development of friendly relations between China and Malawi, exchanges and cooperation in this respect will be enhanced.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today’s workshop shows the Chinese government’s determination and responsibility. It is the beginning rather than the end of the protection of wildlife. And I hope more people can join us. In the future, we will carry out more effective cooperation with the government, civil society and other stakeholders to help Malawi with capacity building and maintenance of biological diversity. Protecting wildlife is protecting our common homeland. Let us join hands and contribute our bit to better life in our common planet.