Beijing Customs said most of the smugglers are Chinese people working in Africa where they have access to cheap ivory and ivory products.
On December 30, China announced a phased schedule to stop part of ivory processing and sales by March 31, 2017, and to eventually stop all ivory processing and sales by the end of 2017. The ivory and ivory products are under the protection of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Reports say around 20,000 elephants continue to be killed illegally each year across the African continent.
This article was first published in the Global Times.