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Africa ivory smuggled on China state visit

06 November 2014, 15:53

Beijing — An environmental watchdog says Chinese officials used a state trip by President Xi Jinping and other high-level visits to smuggle ivory out of Tanzania.

In a report released Thursday, the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency says Chinese-led criminal gangs conspired with corrupt Tanzanian officials to traffic huge amounts of ivory, some of which was loaded in diplomatic bags on Xi's plane during a presidential visit in March 2013.

Chinese officials have not commented on the report, which comes at a time when the Chinese government has openly denounced illegal ivory trade.

The group says China is the world's largest importer of smuggled tusks, and Tanzania is the largest source of poached ivory.

Illegal poaching has killed half of Tanzania's elephants in the past five years.

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- AP


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