Prominent Chinese Citizen Calls for End to Fat Cats’ Fancy for Exotic Gifts – Elephant Ivory, Tiger Bone ….
The fondness of China’s bureaucrats for giving and receiving exotic gifts made from animal products will soon be cut short if some of the country’s most eminent figures have their way.
Numerous proposals urging for the government to take immediate and strict measures to curtail the consumption and demand for endangered wildlife are tabled at the annual conferences of China’s legislative bodies - the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC).
Latest to weigh in against handouts made from endangered species such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger bone, is Yuan Xikun, distinguished environmentalist, the first “Patron for Arts and Environment” of United Nations Environment Programme, goodwill ambassador of IUCN.
Yuan, who is also a member of the CPPCC Standing Committee, presented a proposal to a meeting of the congress demanding an end to largesse at the expense of endangered species.
“Building on the joint decree by the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council to ban dishes containing shark fins, birds nest and protected wild animals at official receptions and banquets, in an effort to root out corruption and condemn decadence consumption, we urge for a special decree prohibiting the lavish consumption and gifting of parts and products from endangered species by government officials and civil servants,” read Yuan’s proposal.
“Mr Yuan is adamant that government officials should set moral examples for wildlife conservation,” said Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia Regional Director of IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org).
“He has long been a champion for wildlife by personally intervening to stop the auction of endangered species, and publically turning down gifts made from tiger bone and bear bile. His proposal is one of the most far reaching yet. As one of China’s most important and best known citizens, his request puts immense pressure on government officials to curb their fondness for exotic presents at the expense of China’s image and the world’s natural heritage”.
Yuan’s proposal follows a similar petition to the CPPCC by former basketball superstar Yao Ming who has asked for a ban on ivory sales in China.
In addition to calling for the prohibition of government officials giving or receiving gifts made from endangered species, Yuan’s proposal urges for maintaining and enforcing the administrative ban on the auction of endangered species; destruction of the entire stockpile of confiscated elephant ivory; and ultimately phasing out domestic ivory trade in China.
“Recall an ivory carving China gifted to the UN and displayed at the United Nations Head Quarters in New York, to be replaced with a sculpture that demonstrates China’s commitment to the protection of endangered wildlife and the world’s natural heritage,” requested the proposal.
Last year the Chinese Government banned the serving of shark fin and bird nest soups and other wild animal products at official banquets, and in January China destroyed six tonnes of ivory. Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, has announced it will incinerate 30 tonnes of its stockpiled illegal ivory in the next two years.
“IFAW applauds every initiative to persuade Chinese citizens to make the right legal and moral decisions, and not to buy or receive ivory.” said Gabriel. “The lobby by respected figures such as Mr Yuan and Yao Ming, are a very powerful way of helping to change the hearts and minds of those who covet ivory.”
Recently a survey by IFAW showed that the most convincing reason for Chinese to stop ivory consumption was “making ivory trade illegal in all circumstances” (60 per cent) and “strong recommendation from a government leader” (39 per cent).
About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.