As Douglas-Hamilton points out, the Chinese are becoming ever-more powerful in many ways.
I decided to check out information on the number of seriously rich people in China, and I'm talking US dollars, not local currency. This quote from telegraph.co.uk news shows the remarkable numbers and the growth of this sector of their society.
"The Hurun rich list, which has been tracking China's tycoons since 1999, on Wednesday said it had counted 271 dollar billionaires in China last year, up from 130 in 2009."This post was dated 7th Sept 2011. You can be sure that there are more now. Maybe 275? As for millionaires, as of a year ago, there were more than a million of them!
One way that really rich people like to show off their wealth is to get nice things, including status symbols. Ivory is one of the ultimate symbols.
It comes as no surprise that shark fins are another major consumer product in China. This essay in a Forbes.com blog by contributor Donald Frazier shows up what is happening with attempts to control that ugly scene.
It is not a pretty picture, and very hard to know what to do about it.