China’s Appetite for Abalone Spurs Organized Crime in South Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Cape Town-based journalist Kimon de Greef joins Eric and Cobus to discuss the lucrative illegal abalone trade between South Africa and China that threatens the survival of this prized shellfish. The abalone trade, according to recent reporting by de...

North Korea’s Diplomats in Africa Are Making Big Money Selling Ivory to Chinese Consumers

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The tightening of international sanctions against North Korea is helping to fuel the illicit ivory trade in Africa as the increasingly isolated country searches for new ways to generate revenue, according to a new report from the Global Initiative...

As Attitudes Change, Chinese Lawmakers Seek Better Protection for Rhinos and Other Endangered Animals

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
Slowly but surely, Chinese attitudes toward wildlife conservation are changing.

Conversation

01.10.17

Can Beijing’s Ivory Ban Save the Elephants?

Eric Olander, Peter J. Li & more
On New Year’s Eve, Beijing announced it will ban the ivory trade in China, potentially shutting down the world’s biggest ivory market. Why did Beijing decide to curb the ivory trade? Will it put enough muscle behind it to enforce the decision? What...

Environment

12.06.16

The World’s Saddest Polar Bear

from chinadialogue
Pizza, “the world’s saddest polar bear,” is to be granted at least a temporary reprieve from the display case in which he lives in the Grandview shopping mall in Guangzhou, southern China. This follows a global outcry, a one-million-signature...

Meet Pizza, the World’s Saddest Polar Bear

Echo Huang Yinyin
Quartz
Pizza is just one of thousands of “wild” animals languishing in China's malls...

China Sets Up South China Sea Environment Protection Fund

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
The funds would initially be spent on exploring the world's deepest underwater sinkhole...

Namibia’s Chinese Ivory Smugglers

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Namibia is the rare country in Africa that seems to be holding its own against ivory poachers. Whereas in most other southern African countries the elephant population is being decimated, in Namibia, according to the government, the number of...

Environment

06.09.16

Namibia’s Secret Ivory Business

Shi Yi from chinadialogue
Many locals and wildlife conservation institutions I talked to didn’t even know about the existence of the ivory black market in Okahandja.It was a quiet evening in Zambezi, until a herdsman heard a gunshot in the wilderness. By the time the police...

Depth of Field

04.03.16

Meet ‘Depth of Field’: The Month’s Best Chinese Photojournalism

Yan Cong, Ye Ming & more from Yuanjin Photo
Welcome to ChinaFile’s inaugural “Depth of Field” column. In collaboration with Yuanjin Photo, an independent photo blog published by photographers Yan Cong and Ye Ming on the Chinese social media platform WeChat, we will highlight new and...

Q. and A.: Patrick Bergin on China’s Role in Protecting Africa’s Wildlife

Shaojie Huang
New York Times
President Xi Jinping announced that China would “enact nearly complete bans on ivory import and export.”

Why Reducing Ivory Demand in China Will Not Curb Poaching in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
“When the buying stops, the killing can too,” reads the popular slogan that WildAid uses in its anti-ivory campaign to raise awareness in China. WildAid, along with most Western environmentalists, contend that curbing demand in China for ivory is...

Green Space

02.04.16

Rescuing China’s Abused Animals

Michael Zhao
We start with a heartwarming note, which I recently heard about in a New Year’s greeting from Animals Asia, a NGO started by Jill Robinson, originally from the U.K., in Chengdu to rescue Asian bears from their torture-chamber-like cages throughout...

Sinica Podcast

12.17.15

Out of Africa: the Swifts of Beijing

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
With amazing research now suggesting that Beijing swifts, the tiny creatures most residents pass by without noticing, are some of the most well-travelled birds on the planet, averaging an astonishing 124,000 miles of flight in their lifetimes,...

‘China is Doing More to Protect Elephants than Africa [Is]’

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
For the first time in years, there is positive news to report in the fight to save Africa’s elephants from extinction. A new study by Save the Elephants revealed that the price of ivory in China has halved over the past 18 months, indicating that...

Green Space

12.16.15

Ivory Price Has Halved, But No Celebration Yet

Michael Zhao
International NGOs such as Save the Elephants have shared the great news that the price of ivory has decreased by almost 50 percent over the past year and a half, thanks to successful campaigns by NGOs in educating the public, and also to...

Green Space

12.04.15

Green Activists Detained for ‘Prostitution,’ Yangtze Dolphins Rebound

Michael Zhao
Given that the Paris climate negotiations are underway, it is fair to start off with something about rising temperatures. This comes from a neat animation posted on Data Seeds’ WeChat Account that visualizes the warming trend within China’s borders...

Growing Demand in China for Africa’s Lion Bones

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
Traditional Chinese medicine—popular throughout Asia—long has prized the supposed medicinal value of tiger bones. Now, though, as the world’s wild tiger population is disappearing fast, even facing extinction, the Chinese medicine industry may have...

China’s Rapidly Changing Views on Wildlife Conservation in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
A dramatic shift in Chinese public opinion about animal welfare and global wildlife conservation appears to be underway. Supported by high-profile celebrity campaigns by NBA legend Yao Ming and actress Li Bing Bing, there is growing awareness in...

China’s Proposed Ivory Ban: Breakthrough or B.S.?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
China’s surprise announcement that it will phase out the trade and manufacturing of ivory came as a rare piece of good news for Africa’s rapidly shrinking elephant population. While most major international wildlife groups welcomed Beijing’s new...

China’s Controversial Trade in Africa’s Natural Resources

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
China often faces blistering criticism for its voracious appetite for Africa’s natural resources. Chinese companies are spread across the continent mining, logging, and fishing to feed both hungry factories and people back home. In most, if not all...

Environment

04.02.15

‘Wolf Totem’ Trainer Sees Risks, Rewards for Hollywood in China

from chinadialogue
Wolf trainer Andrew Simpson has just wrapped up three years in Beijing coaching wolves to perform in the film version of the novel Wolf Totem. The Sino-French adaptation of Jiang Rong’s best-selling 2004 novel opened in Beijing and Europe in...

The Politics of Banning Ivory in China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In February 2015, China announced a one-year ban on ivory imports. While many conservation groups such as the Environmental Investigation Agency denounced Beijing’s policy as “ineffective,” the San Francisco-based group WildAid said the ban is an...

Environment

03.05.15

Beijing Says Panda Population Up 17%, But Experts Doubtful

from chinadialogue
China's claims that its population of wild giant pandas rose around 17% in just over a decade are being disputed by some experts, who point out that the latest census was over a much wider area than the previous one.The giant panda, a global...

China in Africa: 2014 Year in Review

Eric Olander & Cobus van Staden
Two thousand fourteen marked another landmark year in Sino-African relations as bilateral trade set new records while political, diplomatic, and military ties strengthened across the board. Yet despite the tangible progress made this year, this...

Media

10.23.14

Pandas Were Monsters

Alexa Olesen
"Rich Chinese are literally eating this exotic mammal into extinction," read a recent Global Post expose of the devastating trade in the pangolin, a scaly anteater that Chinese consider a delicacy. According to the Post, the adorable...

Environment

06.12.14

The Dead Swans of Dongting Lake

from chinadialogue
I’ve lost track of how many nights I spent traveling to Dongting Lake, a large, shallow lake in Hunan province, central China, famed for being the origin of dragon-boat racing.In mid-January 2013 I met the Yueyang River Porpoise Conservation Society...

Video

05.28.14

Staying Afloat

Lynn Zhang & Shirley Han Ying
In “Staying Afloat: Life on a Disappearing Lake,” Chinese filmmakers Lynn Zhang and Shirley Han Ying train their camera on the people who have been both perpetrators and victims of Lake Baiyangdian’s decline in water supply. They show us not just...