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China Strengthens Wildlife Protection

BEIJING – Last week, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) passed an interpretation of the Criminal Law that mandates jail sentences for eating and buying products made from 420 wildlife species considered rare or endangered, including Asiatic black bear, pangolin, golden monkeys, and giant panda.

Lang Sheng, Deputy Head of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, said, “In fact, buyers are a major motivator of large-scale illegal hunting.”

China, with its rapid economic growth and large population, has seen an increasing number of people able to afford wildlife products, coming from within China and beyond. This increase in consumption is having significant impacts on many wildlife species.

“We believe China can and will truly be a global leader in conservation. Stopping the buying of endangered wildlife products will help conserve many wildlife species,” said WildAid Executive Director Peter Knights.

“President Xi’s administration has stated its intent to increase environmental protection;” Knights added. “Last year they banned shark fin from all state banquets. In January they publicly crushed seized ivory. State media supported the world’s largest demand reduction campaign for wildlife developed in partnership with WildAid and led by Yao Ming and Jackie Chan.  This is another forceful step in wildlife protection that will impact animals globally.”