China destroys 662 kg of illegal ivory
Updated: 2015-05-30 07:52
By ZHANG YAN(China Daily / Xinhua)
Law enforcement officers destroy confiscated tusks and ivory artworks at the Beijing Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center on Friday. WANG JING/CHINA DAILY
The authorities will combat illegal online trading in ivory by monitoring websites and examining the bank accounts of those involved. Legal ivory processing and trading will continue to be strictly controlled until the commercial manufacture and sale of ivory products is eventually halted, he said.
Yan Xun, a senior official at the forestry administration's Wildlife Protection Department, said 34 manufacturing companies have been granted licenses to import ivory and ivory products.
Across the country, 200 sales outlets have received approval from the administration to sell ivory and carved products. The processing companies make carved products and handle an estimated five metric tons of ivory among them each year, he said.
China announced a one-year ban on imports of carved ivory products in February.
Demand for ivory and carved artworks has soared among collectors in China in recent years. People here work with gangs in Africa to smuggle in ivory and sell it on the black market, according to the General Administration of Customs.
The administration says its officers investigated 282 cases involving the smuggling of ivory and products made from it from 2012 to last year and arrested 458 suspects. There have been 39 cases and 39 arrests so far this year.
In a typical case in September, customs officers in Shanghai confiscated 10 pieces of ivory and 345 ivory products, including necklaces and chopsticks, from two Chinese suspects. The items were valued at 6 million yuan ($970,000).
The suspects flew to Shanghai from Ethiopia and were detained as they passed through customs checks.
Yu Guangzhou, director of the customs administration, said the country has taken a series of measures to combat ivory smuggling. New laws were introduced, and a number of special operations have been staged to curb the illegal hunting of wildlife and trafficking.
John E. Scanlon, secretary general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, said, "This action reflects China's resolution to curb illegal trading of ivory."
In 2013, China-a signatory of CITES－was identified as one of eight nations failing to do enough to tackle the illegal ivory trade.
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