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Remarks by H.E Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Breakfast Meeting on Illegal Wildlife Trade: Protect the Wildlife and Build A Beautiful Global Village
Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 2 May 2017

Under Secretary Tobias Ellwood,

Under Secretary Thérèse Coffey,

Ambassadors and High Commissioners:

It is a real delight to join you at this Breakfast Meeting on Illegal Wildlife Trade co-hosted by the FCO and Defra.

The illegal wildlife trade is a global challenge. It therefore requires strong global collaboration and joint response. I appreciate the opportunity of this breakfast meeting to exchange views with you on this important issue.

Here I would like to share some of my thoughts.

In China, the idea that man and nature should coexist in harmony was first proposed by philosophers more than 2,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese classic, the Book of Rites, has these lines:

"All living creatures grow together without harming each other; all roads run parallel without interfering with one another."

Today, we live in a global village. The wildlife is certainly indispensable and man is obliged to protect them. That is the only way for us to achieve sustainable development for all of us.

The Chinese government places high priority on eco-environmental preservation. Environmental protection, especially wildlife preservation, is a key part in China's overall national development strategy.

Over the years China has worked hard in cracking down on the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products including elephant tusks. In doing so, we have also constantly enhanced our cooperation with the world. The outcomes are remarkable.

There are three areas where China has made unremitting efforts.

Firstly, China has made unremitting efforts to improve relevant legislations.

China has made a set of laws in wildlife protection, which is underpinned by the Wildlife Protection Law, the Forest Law, the Regulations on the Import and Export of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, etc.

In July 2016, amendments to the Wildlife Protection Law were introduced to provide for a number of prohibitions. These include:

  • Prohibition on the sale, purchase and use of wildlife and related products.
  • Prohibition on any wildlife related advertisement.
  • And prohibition on providing trading venues for illegal wildlife products.

The amendments also provide for the establishment of a cross-department joint conference mechanism to tackle wildlife trafficking and illegal trade. This is aimed at strengthening the enforcement actions against violations of the law.

The amended Wildlife Protection Law came into force on the first day of this year. It is a powerful legal weapon for more effective protection of the wildlife and cracking down on illegal trade.

Secondly, China has made unremitting efforts to strengthen law enforcement.

For three years in a row, the number of illegal wildlife trade cases in China has continuously come down. Notably, the smuggling of elephant tusks has dropped by over 80%.

Last December, the Chinese government announced a total ban on the commercial processing and sales of ivory and ivory products in China. This ban will be phased in by the end of this year.

As of the end of March, the State Forestry Administration has ordered the closure of 12 ivory processing companies and 55 ivory shops.

These moves are highly significant for protecting African elephants. They will effectively promote the concerted efforts of elephant range states and transit and consumer states to combat the illegal activities.

Other concrete steps that China has taken include the destruction in public of tiger bone, rhino horn and Tibetan antelope hide involved in poaching and trafficking. These campaigns are both a means of public education and a demonstration of China's firm stance against illegal wildlife trade.

Thirdly, China has made unremitting efforts to constantly strengthen international cooperation.

China has earnestly fulfilled its obligations as a signatory to The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

One example is the training courses China has undertaken to run for member states from Africa and Asia in order to enhance their compliance and law enforcement capabilities.

China supported the UN General Assembly Resolution on "Tackling the Illicit Trafficking in Wildlife" and actively participated in international cooperation under the UN framework.

From 2011 to 2014, China conducted three cross-border operations against illegal wildlife trade known as "Mission Cobra". These operations have been effective in curbing wildlife trafficking.

Over the years, China and the UK have had much cooperation on tackling illegal trade in wildlife.

China took an active part in the High Level Event on Illicit Wildlife Trafficking and the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce, both initiated by Britain.

China appreciates the British initiative in hosting the series of high level meetings on Illicit Wildlife Trafficking. We support the declarations and action plans adopted during the London, Kasane and Hanoi conferences. China is ready to take part constructively in the follow-up process.

To further advance international cooperation on combating illegal wildlife trade, I would like to make three suggestions.

First, build consensus.

We should encourage more countries and organizations to get involved and build a network of friends and partners. That will enable us to leverage our collective wisdom and enrich our toolbox so that our joint responses and action plans will be more effective.

Second, work for a comprehensive solution.

We must cure both the symptom and the root cause of this problem. This requires us to identify the specific causes, trends and damages of wildlife trafficking so as to prescribe remedies that will work.

We should take joint actions on the problem at different stages, from poaching, trafficking and transfer to illegal processing and sales. Such actions include improving our respective laws, enhancing enforcement and breaking the chain of illegal trade.

Third, coordinate actions.

The high-level conferences constitute one of the important means for the international community to prevail over illegal wildlife trade.

These conferences should be well coordinated with the actions of the UN and other international organizations, regional institutions and NGOs.

Effective coordination of efforts from all partners will strengthen our hands to make concerted progress in advancing the protection of wildlife.

As the Chinese saying goes, "Success belongs to the persevering."

China is ready to join hands with all other countries to make persevering efforts to tackle illegal wildlife trade.

China is ready to contribute our part to building a more beautiful and more harmonious global village.

Thank you!

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