Chinese embassy distances self from ‘rotten’ nationals

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Maria Amakali

Windhoek-The Chinese embassy in Namibia has distanced its operations and relations from what its chargé d’affaires Li Nan called the ‘rotten’ Chinese, following dozens of poaching cases and other illegal activities involving Chinese nationals.

Several Chinese were also arrested in arguably the biggest financial scandal ever reported in Namibia, involving N$3.5 billion that the government allegedly lost in tax evasion and money laundering, among others counts in the matter. Some Namibians were also arrested in connection with the case.

“China will never give unprincipled protection to Chinese national suspects if they are treated according to the law,” he said.

Li was speaking on Thursday last week during a seminar on wildlife protection for the celebration of World Wildlife Day.

He said Chinese nationals that are involved in illegal activities do not represent the local Chinese community and embassy, and certainly not the People’s Republic of China.

“Chinese residents here in Namibia are honest and decent people, abiding by the law, creating jobs, paying taxes and making voluntary contributions to the local community by way of granting donations to schools and charity organisations,” said Li.

Li assured the Namibian people that his government was serious about assisting the Namibian government to fight illegal poaching and smuggling of wildlife products. The Chinese government pledged to donate N$200 000 to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism towards the combatting of poaching.

In May 2016, China destroyed 660kg of confiscated elephant ivory following similar initiatives since January 2014 when 34.8 tonnes of ivory were burnt. China is in the processes of phasing out commercial processing and sale of ivory and ivory products by December 31.

The decision did not come lightly to the Chinese government as it directly affects the country’s 34 processing enterprises and 143 designated trading venues dealing in ivory. The shutting down of the billion dollar industry will leave hundreds of people unemployed.

“This decision was hard and has come at a cost, but it is worth it,” he said.
In 2016, 101 cases of elephant poaching were reported compared to 49 in 2015, 78 in 2014, and 38 in 2013. During the same period 63 black and white rhino were killed.

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