Chinese Ivory Smuggler with Close Ties to Beijing Government Arrested for Murder of Thousands of Elephants
By Nate Thayer
October 9, 2015
Yang Feng Glan graduated with a degree in Swahili and was sent by Beijing to Tanzania in 1975 as a translator for Tazara, the 2000 kilometer Chinese government built railroad between that country and Zambia
Since then, as both an official and unofficial operative of the Chinese government, she has personally overseen the slaughter of tens of thousands of elephants.
The Dragon Lady of Dar es Sallem has coordinated an international network of illegal ivory smuggling working with powerful Chinese and Tanzanian government officials coordinating with Chinese-owned companies and the corrupt Chinese embassy in Tanzania.
Her other duties include the Vice President and Secretary-General of the Tanzania China-Africa Business Council and owning the biggest Chinese restaurant at Dar es Salaam.
85,000 elephants have been murdered in Tanzania between 2009 and 2014, according to a recent elephant census in the country.
China’s foreign policy towards Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America makes the past rapacious English and American imperialists look like Jesus of Nazareth.
The extreme nationalism of China’s foreign policy and their role pimping for mafia thugs posing as low rent capitalists make the European’s and American’s blemished historical shenanigans pale in scale—not to mention the ridiculous superstition regarding the mystical powers of ivory horns and tusks, which fuel China’s interest in raping Africa.
Between 1979 and 1989, the number of African elephants exterminated were between 1.2 million to 600,000. Then international treaties were enforced—for a while. But between 2000 and 2002, more than 1,000 African elephants were found dead, killed for their tusks.
Ms. Yang Feng Glan set up shop permanently in Tanzania in 1998, opening up a Chinese restaurant and an “investment company” specializing in foreign trade”
Steven Broad, executive director of wildlife trade monitor Traffic, said: “It is incredible that poaching on such an industrial scale has not been identified and addressed before now.”
Traffic said the numbers were “catastrophic” but said they aligned with their observations of ivory flows from the country. Since 2009, at least 45 tonnes have reached the international black market from Tanzania, making it Africa’s largest source of poached ivory, almost all of it being sent to Beijing.
There were more than 34,000 elephants in Ruaha–Rungwa in 2009. This declined to 20,000 in 2013 before plummeting to 8,000 in 2014 .
That is because of Madame Yang Feng Glan and her cohorts in the Beijing embassy, the government in Beijing, and the Tanzanian government.
WWF’s global species programme director Carlos Drews said the disappearance of so many elephants from Ruaha–Rungwa could only be explained by the involvement of the international crime gangs who have industrialised the murder of protected elephants.
“The slaughter of thousands of elephants in Ruaha–Rungwa clearly points to the involvement of international organised crime, which is compounded by corruption and weak enforcement capacity in Tanzania – and to the urgent need to scale up efforts to tackle the poaching epidemic before the area’s remaining elephant herds are destroyed,” he said.
In the Selous reserve, the numbers dropped from almost 45,000 to around 15,000. Last year Unesco added Selous to its World Heritage in Danger list.
Tanzania is now the epicentre of Africa’s elephant poaching crisis after a government census revealed it had lost a “catastrophic” 60% of its elephants in just five years.
That is because of Madame Yang Feng Glan, the Beijing Embassy in Tanzania, the government in China, and the government of Tanzania.
Tanzania’s elephant population, according to the Tanzanian government, decreased between 2009 and 2014 from 109,051 to 43,330. When an annual birth rate of 5% is taken into account the number of dead is 85,181.
Yang Feng Glan, 66, was arrested in Dar es Salaam this week and charged with smuggling 706 pieces of ivory between 2000 and 2004 worth 5.44 billion Tanzanian shillings ($2.51 million).
Glan is a Swahili-speaker who has been in Tanzania since the 1970s and is secretary-general of the Tanzania China-Africa Business Council and owns a Chinese restaurant in Dar es Salaam, the Beijing restaurant.
Over 15 years, she smuggled more than 700 elephant tusks out of Africa. She was behind an illicit trade worth millions of dollars, using her ties to the Chinese and Tanzanian governments to move ivory across the world. “She was at the center of that killing,” said Andrea Crosta, the executive director of Elephant Action League, a U.S.-based environmental watchdog group.
Yang came to Africa in the 1970s, just as China was beginning construction on a railway in Tanzania. She was a translator back then, one of her country’s first trained Swahili speakers.
“I know I should have retired, but whenever I think that my language advantage and network can help many Chinese and Tanzanians and increase mutual trust and confidence, I do not want to stop. I myself am the best illustration of China-Tanzania friendship,” she told the China Daily in an obsequious interview with the government propaganda organ.
“Through the years, Yang has selflessly provided help to Chinese companies coming into the country as well as to Tanzania’s ambassador to China during several trips to China for trade promotion. Yang currently is helping Beijing Huayuan Weishi Security Service Co Ltd register in Tanzania as a consultant and find possible partners in the country,” wrote the China Daily.
“I was not and am still not a typical businesswoman,” she told China Daily. “What I know is that, from my previous experience and with my help if they need it, Chinese companies wishing to explore the market in Tanzania can get a better understanding of the situation here and therefore save a lot of unnecessary twists and turns.”
“I myself am the best illustration of China-Tanzania friendship,” she said.
“Not only the Chinese embassy’s economic counselor, but also her former supervisor during the railway construction and other friends she had made over the years in Tanzania all came to show support,” wrote the China Daily before Ms. Yang was arrested this week.
After completion of the Tazara Railway in the 1980’s, Yang returned to China to take a government job with Beijing’s foreign trade department. ‘Like many Chinese in the 1990s seeking opportunities in the early stages of the country’s market economy, she decided to look again at Tanzania.”
Now she is in a cage. Let’s hope that her collaborators in the Chinese embassy in Tanzania and the government in Beijing also are put in a cage, or at the least have the harsh glare of public scrutiny made public and transparent, forcing Beijing to acknowledge its representatives abroad are often nothing more than government pimps for common criminals.
Foreign policy? See previous sentence….