Re­port on Zim­babwe ele­phants ‘non­sense’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By MO JINGXI mo­jingxi@chi­

China re­but­ted a re­cent re­port that Zim­babwe had sent wild an­i­mals, in­clud­ing 35 ele­phant calves, to China to pay for a mil­i­tary debt, say­ing it is “sheer non­sense with an ul­te­rior mo­tive”.

The Times news­pa­per in Lon­don re­ported on Mon­day that Grace Mu­gabe, wife of Zim­bab­wean Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe, had sent sa­fari an­i­mals to a Chi­nese wildlife park to pay for mil­i­tary uni­forms for the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo.

“I want to em­pha­size that this is a nor­mal com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity, which is in line with rel­e­vant in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions and laws in both coun­tries” For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing told a daily news con­fer­ence on Thurs­day.

Hua said that wildlife parks in Shang­hai, Bei­jing and Hangzhou re­cently im­ported a to­tal of 35 African ele­phants from Zim­babwe. Pay­ments have been re­ceived by Zim­bab­wean au­thor­i­ties, and the money will be used for the African coun­try’s wildlife pro­tec­tion, Hua said.

“It is an in­ter­na­tional prac­tice for zoos to im­port for­eign sa­fari an­i­mals. The tech­ni­cal con­di­tions of Chi­nese an­i­mal parks have met in­ter­na­tional de­mands and the parks can take care of the African ele­phants,” she added.

An anony­mous Chi­nese staff mem­ber di­rectly in­volved in the trans­ac­tion told China Ra­dio In­ter­na­tional that “all the pay­ments have been brought into the ac­counts of the Zim­babwe Parks and Wildlife Man­age­ment Author­ity and na­tional parks”.

He also said Zim­babwe’s en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion min­is­ter in­spected the wildlife parks in Shang­hai and Hangzhou in Jan­uary and as­sessed the con­di­tions of ele­phants that had been im­ported ear­lier to Guangzhou.

Li Wen­tao, an ex­pert on African stud­ies at the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, said the re­port un­fairly spec­u­lated about nor­mal China-Zim­babwe trade ties when Zim­babwe is suf­fer­ing eco­nomic dif­fi­cul­ties.

“The two coun­tries are good part­ners with close co­op­er­a­tion, and China has been pro­vid­ing eco­nomic as­sis­tance to the African coun­try. How­ever, this is no rea­son to make such spec­u­la­tion,” he said.

He Wen­ping, a re­searcher at the In­sti­tute of West-Asian and African Stud­ies of the Chi­nese Acad­emy of So­cial Sciences, said the mis­lead­ing re­port shows the West­ern me­dia’s long­time prej­u­dice against China-Africa co­op­er­a­tion.

“Any­one with com­mon sense will know such a re­port is ridicu­lous. Ev­ery coun­try could have ups and downs, and China and African coun­tries have a con­sen­sus on over­com­ing dif­fi­cul­ties to­gether,” she said.

and mail each year.

At the end of last year, China’s ports had more than 31,000 quay berths for pro­duc­tion use, and the num­ber of berths for 10,000 tons or above reached 2,221.

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