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China threat: the wild animal killer

The second stop in the documentary is Zambia. Here, China is depicted as a wild animal killer. The presenter first draws the viewers’ attention to an interview with a Chinese couple cruising on the river as tourists. During the interview, the atmosphere initially is relaxed and the background scenery alongside the river is peaceful and beautiful. However, the tone of the presenter soon changes and the commentary is directed to a different subject: the theft of elephant tusks. The viewers are introduced to an elephant orphanage, where young elephants whose parents are claimed to have been killed for their ivory, are cared for. The suggestion here seems to be pointing toward Chinese tourists, and the demand for ivory in China, as likely being responsible for the death of the elephants. Thus, in this part, the image of China seems to be more depicted and represented as a threat to the wild animals in Africa.

In order to emphasise this image depiction, the filmmakers have also adopted a series of images. The first image is given to a very long elephant tusk that is displayed. The filmmakers here use a close-up shot on the tusk. To emphasise more of this image of China (a threat to the wild animals in Africa), the filmmaker quickly follows up with a series of close-up shots giving the viewers the apparent ‘evidence’. Here, ivory goods including toys, chopsticks and stamps are shown to the camera (viewers). Accompanying these visual images, the presenter also uses the verbal words including ‘China’ and ‘threat’, which seems to connect these ivory products with China.

It is noteworthy that, whereas the image of China is portrayed as a ‘cruel’ killer of wildlife in this part, the British presenter (a Westerner) seemed to be portrayed as a neutral investigator and a protector of animals. In one of the visual scenes, the image shows an African man wearing a green uniform. Behind him, there are several baby elephants walking in a line. Shortly afterwards, a conversation including an interview with a local worker in the orphanage seems to take this image of the British presenter further: the image of an ‘investigator’, investigating the ‘crime’ China has committed against

Africa as a ‘victim’. Here, the camera shots used are medium shots and the angle of the shots are front angle.

Moreover, still in this section, a visual image is given of the presenter who is trying to feed an elephant orphan in the orphanage. This tends to imply that the British presenter, as a Westerner, is coming as an animal protector, while the Chinese are coming to Africa to kill animals for ivory goods.

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