Beijing, China – A senior official of China forestry regulatory body says governments of African countries should make common efforts in regulating Chinese companies operating in their respective forestry and extractive sectors to limit illegal wildlife trade or environmental degradation.
Wang Chunfeng, Deputy Director General for the Department of International Cooperation of the State Forestry Administration (SFA) of China, said in order to compliment the significant strides China has made in curbing illegal wildlife trade or environmental degradation, African countries must put in place stringent regulations.
“The country where our Chinese companies have investments should strengthen their regulations and give more information about the company to our government,” Wang said in Beijing on September 26. “And our government will be strict and regulate that company based on information about Chinese firms in Africa are communicated to our country.”
He also called on African countries to take actions to punish Chinese firms accused of illegal wildlife or environmental degradation, while also encouraging governments to ensure logging are done at a sustainable level.
China has already imposed several regulations for firms investing in Africa’s extractive sector, he said.
Some of these regulations encourage Chinese oversea firms to uphold “Green standard” before acquiring loans from a Chinese bank.
This means, companies operating outside China must consider the protection of the environment and respect the local people, Wang said.
He said relevant Chinese government agencies have also created a ‘blacklist’ of companies involve with illegal activities.
“Since the start of this year, Chinese government has started reviewing regulations for oversea companies and have started drawing new regulations,” Wang said, adding that the new measures will help improve an “ecological friendly environment”.
According to the SFA, Chinese government has improved its cooperation with Africa in wildlife conservation providing technical and material support to several African countries’ natural conservation initiatives in order to help combat illegal activities.
Premier Li Keqiang, in 2014, as support to Africa’s wildlife conservation initiative announced material and technical support worth US$10 million.
There have also been frequent exchanges of knowledge and experience between the continent and China in dealing with the problem, the SFA said.
China currently has bilateral agreements with Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, providing support to the three countries in enhancing their respective wildlife law enforcement.
SFA however encouraged African countries opting to broaden their cooperation on dealing with wildlife conservation issues to make request to the Chinese government for extended partnership.
In December 2016, China announced that it would shut down carving factories in the country before the end of 2017 – a move expected to massively curb poaching or the killing of elephants in Africa.
The country has also made amendments in its conservation laws especially on the purchase of illegal wildlife. The law provides severe punishment for citizens involve with smuggling or criminally purchasing wildlife.
China’s legal framework to protect its natural reserve started back in the 1950s when the country put into law a policy which now sees the preservation of 147 million hectares of land covering all kinds of natural reserve.
Already, China has launched rigid law enforcement actions for the monitoring of ports, railways, markets and also checking the Internet for illegal trades.
Once there’s suspected activity, actions are taken, the SFA said.
“Tech company has a role, we track to locate, find and stop illegal trade online,” said Wang Li, Tencent public relations manager. “We have shut down a lot and make their trafficking difficult.”
Li told African journalists in Beijing that online trafficking has dropped in China.
Data from the SFA shows a significant decrease in illegal wildlife activities in China, although curbing the trade in Africa remains a challenge.