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Does Just One Man in China Control the Fate of Africa's Elephants?

In the powerful new Netflix documentary “The Ivory Game,” Elephant Action League Executive Director Andrea Crosta ominously warned that the entire fate of Africa’s elephants is in the hands of a single man, Chinese president Xi Jinping. Only President Xi has the power, argued Crosta, to shut down China’s domestic ivory trade that drives so much of the killing of Africa’s rapidly diminishing elephant population.

Crosta is among the central characters in “The Ivory Game” where he is also joined by Nairobi-based conservation activist Huang Hongxiang. Huang, who also founded the non-profit organization China House Kenya, and Crosta traveled the world to expose the complex trading networks that facilitate the illicit ivory trade. While Huang generally agrees with Crosta that the Chinese president plays an out-sized role in the destiny of these animals, he also cautions that it will take more than just Xi Jinping’s policies to stop the killing.

Huang joins Eric & Cobus to discuss more about the under-cover sting operations he participated in for “The Ivory Game” and why he feels it is so important to demonstrate that Chinese activists like him are risking their lives in the effort to save Africa’s elephants from extinction.

Show Notes:

About Huang Hongxiang:


Huang Hongxiang graduated from the Journalism school at Fudan University and from SIPA (School of International and Public Affairs) at Columbia University of New York. As a freelance journalist for Southern Weekly, The Atlantic, The Mail & Guardian, and other publications, he has traveled to Africa and South America many times to investigate and report on various issues, focusing on Chinese investment and related social-environmental conflict resolution.

Since graduating from SIPA in 2013, Huang has worked in Africa as a freelance journalist and business representative/consultant for responsible Chinese investment projects. He is dedicated to working on multi-stakeholder dialogues for China’s Going Out and to ensuring the sustainable development of Chinese overseas investment.

Huang is the founder of the Nairobi-based China House Kenya, which provides consulting services to Chinese companies in Africa on sustainable development and investment.

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