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China backs Tanzania prison sentence for 'ivory queen'

Posted at 4:12 AM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 04:12:18-05

BEIJING (AP) — China says it backs Tanzania's sentencing of a Chinese woman labeled the "ivory queen" to 15 years in jail for smuggling elephant tusks.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Wednesday that China supports the Tanzanian authorities in conducting a "just" investigation and trial and is "ready to work with the international community to protect wildlife and curb the international trade."

Yang Fenglan was convicted of smuggling about 700 elephant tusks and her case was viewed as a major test of Africa-wide efforts to hold key trafficking figures accountable for the mass killing of elephants to supply ivory to illegal markets, including in China.

China has cracked down on smuggling and a total ban on all trade in ivory products came into effect last year.