Traditional Chinese medicine leading to destruction of African biodiversity: Report

In the backdrop of development, African countries are lured by China to sell off their very identity i.e. their rich biodiversity. South Africa and Namibia even recognized TCM as part of their public health system.

Beijing: China is systematically destroying the biodiversity and pursuing growth of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCMs) in Africa, said a Canada-based think tank.

In its report, International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS) said China has managed to stop the exploitation of its own biodiversity for the sake of TCMs and other wildlife-based products and started to explore other countries for the same.

TCM is a range of medicine practices sharing common concepts, including various forms of herbal medicines, exercises and dietary therapies. It was developed around 2500 years back in China. Many TCM formulations require animal tissues such as tiger bones, scales of pangolins, antelopes, buffalo or rhino horns, deer antlers, testicles and penis of the dog, bear or snake bile, the report said.

MS Education Academy

China is promoting traditional medicines, as its soft power and as an alternate medicine system, the think tank said.

“China, thus, started exploitation of the African Biodiversity for the growth of TCMs and other wildlife-based products at a colossal scale in the last decade through illegal wildlife trade (IWT) and an aggressive Foreign policy Strategy,” IFFRAS reported.

China is pursuing growth of TCMs in Africa for achieving its ambitious targets, it has established TCM companies and clinics in many African countries. According to the think tank, South Africa, Mozambique, Cameroon, Nigeria, Tanzania and Togo signed agreements with China to develop TCM.

TCM products are now openly available in retail outlets across Africa. China has deployed over 2000 TCM practitioners in 45 African countries, the think tank said.

According to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020, there is an alarming 65 per cent decline in population sizes of mammals, fish, amphibians and reptiles in Africa over the years. These declines are largely driven by increasing demand of natural resources to support a growing population and global patterns of unsustainable consumption and production that lead to widespread habitat loss (45.9%) and over exploitation of species (35.5%), IFFRAS reported.

Africa thus needs to aggressively pursue policies to stop the exploitation of species for the gains of the other countries, the think tank added.

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