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Remarks by Consul General Wang Jianzhou at the Handover Ceremony of the Fund donated by the Chinese Community to Thula Thula Game Reserve

2017-11-15
 

Dear Francoise,

Managing Director of Thula Thula Game Reserve,

Members of the anti-poaching team,

Rangers and security of wildlife,

Chiefs of the local community,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

I am very pleased to come back to Thula Thula Game Reserve and meet you.

 

My last visit to Thula Thula is still fresh in my very happy memory. On April 8th, 2016, at the invitation of Francoise, and accompanied by the officials from the provincial and Durban Municipal governments and representatives of the Durban Chinese community, I visited the Thula Thula Game Reserve for the first time. For me, that trip was a study tour; it was an experience very educational and unforgettable. The visit has helped me to have a better knowledge about the wildlife conservation in South Africa, and let me know that in South Africa, there is a group of people like you dedicated to save and protect the wild lives.

 

After the visit, I thought I should do something to help protect these lovely wild animals. It was my belief that the elephants and rhinos in Thula Thula not only belong to Thula Thula and South Africa, but also belong to the planet and the mankind, and that it is our shared responsibility to protect them. Every time when I read the news from the local newspapers saying that a large number of elephants and rhinos have been poached or rhinos in South Africa have to be dehorned so as to avoid poaching, I feel very sad. It was shocking for me to learn from newspaper report that more that 170 rhinos have been killed this year in KwaZulu-Natal. Every time I read such kind of news, I would think of the elephants and rhinos in Thula Thula.

 

We have an old Chinese teaching, which I quote: "Do not fail to do good even if it's small; do not engage in evil even if it's small", so in my view, protecting the wild lives is good, poaching is evil. No matter how small and humble the good may be, we must do it, and no matter how small the evil is, we must not do it, and we must stop people doing it. Today we are here to do something good, though it may be small. I learned in the newspaper, in supply chain, the value of rhino horn shoots up to R135000 per kilogram, so the amount of money we are donating here is just about the value of one kilogram rhino horn.

Early this month, we had our traditional Chinese Moon Festival celebration in Durban, it was a big event attended by people from the Chinese community and a lot of South African friends. During this festival, The Chinese Consulate General in Durban and the local Chinese community had a fund-raising. I proposed that we set aside a part of the fund raised and donate it to Thula Thula to help better protect the wildlife of South Africa. This becomes a consensus among the Chinese community; we all think this is a good deed worth doing. So that is why we are here today. We have brought here with us R120000 to be donated to the Thula Thula South Africa Conservation Fund. Though this amount is not very big, but it is significant, it shows the Chinese community does care and support the cause of wildlife conservation in this country. I hope this donation will help better the life of the elephants and rhinos, and I am sure what we are doing here today will make a little difference and help bring awareness to the wildlife conservation in South Africa.

Cherishing other living beings is cherishing human beings ourselves. All living beings in the world are the children of Mother Nature; they live under the same blue sky and should live in peace. Human being's crazy and greedy killing of other beings can cause nature's merciless retaliation on human beings.

 

Two days ago in Beijing, Chinese president Xi Jinping, while delivering his report at the Chinese Communist's Party's 19th Congress, which attracts world attention, announced among others the Chinese government's policy on building an ecological civilization, he said man and nature form a community of life; we, as human beings, must respect nature, follow its ways, and protect it, any harm we inflict on nature will eventually return to haunts us. He said the modernization China wants to achieve is the new model of modernization with humans developing in harmony with nature; we should cherish the environment as we cherish our own lives, implement our fundamental national policy of conserving resources and protecting the environment, build a beautiful China and play our part in ensuring global ecological security.

   The Chinese government attaches importance to protecting its wildlife. China is one of the countries in the world that has the richest kinds of wild lives; we have more than 6500 kinds of vertebrates, and have 470 kinds of wild animals that only exist in China, such as the pandas, the South China tigers, the Yantze crocodile and the golden monkey. As early as 1956, China has built its first batch of natural conservations. In 1981, China joined the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and in 1988, China adopted the Law on Wildlife Protection. In the past 20 decades, China has invested hundreds of billions of Yuan in wildlife protection and the building of natural conservations. China has now 2174 natural conservations; they are 13% of China's territory land. More than 85% of the kinds of wild lives have been well protected. In addition, China has 46 international wetlands and 50 thousand smaller natural conservations, national wetland parks and forest parks.

 

The Chinese government adopts a consistent and firm position on the protection of endangered wildlife such as elephant and rhino. As a contracting party to CITES, China has made unremitting efforts to protect wildlife on multiple fronts, including national legislation, institution development, trade management, law enforcement and oversight, capacity building and public participation. China has also actively engaged in international cooperation with countries at the source and the destination, as well as along the transiting routes of wildlife trafficking to address the issue. All of these efforts have been widely recognized by the international community.

 

The Chinese Government has been relentlessly firm in the combat against the illegal trade of endangered wild species and wildlife products. China maintains zero tolerance for the relevant crimes, and the criminals received strict sentence according to law. In addition, the Chinese Government has conducted multiple campaigns such as the public destruction of confiscated wildlife products to increase public awareness on the issue. 

 

We Chinese people have a very close relationship with wildlife and animals. You may all know that we have 12 zodiac animals, each governing a year's fortune. Therefore every Chinese is associated with the zodiac representing his or her year of birth. And in my hometown village, I have a relative family, there are five brothers in that family, they are my father's generation. The five brothers are respectively given the name of Golden elephant, Golden lion, Golden tiger, Golden leopard and Golden dragon. They are the big fives of our big family, almost equivalent to the big five of South Africa. This shows that Chinese people really love wildlife.

   I remember I have also told Francoise  at my home last year that I have a good friend who quitted his job in China and came to the African continent to help protect the wildlife, he had been working in Kenya looking after the lions there, he changed his name into Simba so that he could get along well with the lions. He is now a famous champion of the protection of wildlife in Africa.

   What I told just now is something about wildlife protection in China and our attitude and action on wildlife protection. I want to thank Francoise and everyone for this opportunity to visit Thula Thula again and meet you. Thank you for the warm hospitality again. I sincerely hope our donation and our visit would be helpful. I am very glad to hear about the Thula Thula expansion project for elephants and rhinos. I look forward to working with you in the days to come, and I wish Thula Thula and all of you all the best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2017.10.21

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