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Africa's traditional Chinese medicine boom cause for concern: Report

ANI | Updated: Jan 24, 2022 21:13 IST

Beijing [China], January 24 (ANI): Rise in the use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) products in a number of African countries in recent years is fuelling demand for endangered species whose body parts are used to make certain ingredients, according to a report from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
The Chinese government has been ramping up the export and production of TCM products in Africa as part of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping's Belt and Road global connections drive, with chains of TCM suppliers and clinics across the continent, according to a report from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), according to Radio Free Asia.
Hong Kong writer and activist Riki Ueda, who has volunteered in wildlife conservation in South Africa, agreed.
"The demand for traditional Chinese medicine will increase, and the pressure on these animals will definitely increase," she said.
"Is the legal trade contributing to the illegal trade? Both seem to be growing in parallel ... and the [legal trade] is bound to have a negative impact on the species and the illegal wildlife trade alike," she added.
According to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in South Africa, poachers killed 394 rhinos in the whole of 2020. But the number rose to 249 in the first half of 2021 alone.
In Botswana, at least 100 rhinos have been killed by poachers in the last three years, since President Mokgweetsi Masisi took office in 2018 and disarmed anti-poaching squads, taking away their right to kill poachers on sight.
According to Ueda, the illegal trade in powdered rhino horn has gotten cleverer at covering its tracks, and many operations now grind the horn into powder and disguise it as beads or other substances before shipping to East Asia, as reported by Radio Free Asia. (ANI)