HARARE – China has slammed its nationals’ involved in illegal ivory smuggling saying they should be severely punished.
Earlier this week, Chen Guoliang was arrested at Zimbabwe’s main airport trying to smuggle ivory out of the country, after reports of hundreds of elephants being poisoned at Hwange National Park.
The man was found with 17 raw pieces of ivory and several of worked ivory, which included bangles, chop sticks and beads weighing 113,9 kg.
Guoliang was remanded in custody yesterday.
In the wake of this arrest, China has decried the illegal activities and encouraged the Zimbabwean government to take action.
Lin Lin, the Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe told the Daily News yesterday that the illegal activities by Chinese nationals have tainted his country’s image.
“I have heard such reports and this is very unfortunate,” Lin said.
My country is very clear on that, laws of other countries should be upheld and respected.
“Those who are smuggling ivory and practising illegal mining should be punished according to the local laws. We cannot allow criminal activities to go unpunished.”
He said illegal activities by Chinese nationals do not define his country’s relationship with Zimbabwe.
“These cases are unique and do not define Chinese agenda with other countries,” Lin said.
“We respect Zimbabwe and we want mutual beneficial friendship. All Chinese people who visit Zimbabwe know this and so we do not want to see them partaking in criminal activities.”
Lin said his country will try and encourage its citizens to desist from illegal activities in foreign countries.
“We will give advice to our people coming here to Zimbabwe to behave themselves because they risk tarnishing our image. Also, we will encourage them to learn more about Zimbabwean laws so they won’t be caught on the wrong side of the law,” he said.