Tag Archives: General Administration of Customs of China

Controversial Ivory destruction: walking between the legal principle and emotion

Zhang Ke, First Financial Daily
Jan 7th, 2014

January 6th, the State Forestry Administration and the General Administration of Customs in Guangdong Province, joined together to destroy 6.1 tons of confiscated ivory in public. This is the first time for the Chinese government to destroy its stockpile of illicit ivory in public since the founding of People’s Republic of China.
Both criticism and praise have been received after it was reported. A number of international animal protection groups believe that, this action demonstrates the Chinese government’s unshakeable resolution to crack down illicit ivory trade and to help reduce and stop illicit wildlife trade, to the whole world, including African countries,
However, opponents said that those tusk were so valuable that shouldn’t have been destroyed. As the tusk getting rarer, the price is getting higher; as a result, more people would take the risk and break the law, being driven by the desires making them less sympathetic. Auction, as another, is also suggested, whose proceeds could be used for animal protection or education. Building a museum, exhibiting those confiscated ivory, to shows the dirty smuggling deals to the public can be another possible solution.
Do we have to destroy them?
In fact, this problem has been encountered in every country that destroyed illegal ivory before. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) organized an ivory destruction last year, crushed its entire stockpile of illegal ivory tusks and carvings, which had been confiscated in past 25 years.
At that time, FWS had made remark that, from the point of economic theory, in general, reducing in supply increases demand. So with all these ivory destroyed, it may lead to the rise of the price, which would provoke the poachers even more to continue their slaughter. What would have happen, if FWS had sold these stocks to the market in some legal ways, instead of destroying them?
Gavin Shire, a specialist in public affairs at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says: “basic supply-and-demand analyses are not sufficiently applicable here.” He explains that the FWS itself is not permitted to sell the ivory products in any way; The reason why the department stockpiled the tusk, was that it was being sold illegally. If it’s illegal for poachers and dealers, then it can’t be legal for the government departments and agencies, either. Zero tolerance means no tolerance at all. As to the supply-demand theory, Shire says that whether this particular portion is put into the market or not, it wouldn’t make any economic difference, because the amount is so small. But crushing this stockpile in front of a group of politicians, environmentalists, media and the public will help stimulate conversations about the true value of the ivory.
Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia chief representative, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), said: “The destruction of the confiscated ivory can prevent the ivory getting back the market again, which would stimulate poaching in return. More importantly, from poaching to purchasing, every country in this chain is playing a part in destroying ivory publicly. This situation demonstrates to all the consumers that the purchase of ivory is immoral and wrong. ”
Reports from the First Financial Daily nowadays, for the Chinese government, especially the China Forestry Bureau, the most important is to announce a clear attitude and hold a firm stand, particularly to give clear definition of the preservation and utilization .
In fact, in terms of preservation and utilization, the ambiguous attitude the bureau holding for a long time has been very controversial. Issues on hunting rights, live bear bile, and ivory smuggling, lasting for a long time, reconfirming government’s consistent ambiguous attitude—to utilize and protect the forest product.
Taking ivory issue for example, despite the fact that the bureau admits that it’s brutal and immoral to get elephants’ tusk, the manufacturing of ivory production is still of legit existence, claiming which as a way to protect traditional carving technology.
This questionable position leads to the public’s misunderstanding of illegality of the ivory trades and makes it extreme difficult to define whether a particular ivory trade is legal or not. Protectors said that because the government, in a few years, will purchase and distribute the ivory back to the market in several groups, the price of ivory will be raised and, thus, stimulate the demand of illegal production.
However, during the activities of destruction of the ivory, Zhao Shucong, the director of the China Forestry Bureau, explained that this activity has declared Chinese government’s consistent position of opposing and fighting against the illicit trade of the wild animal, which will help to raise the public’s awareness of protecting the wild animals and reinforce the responsibility of related law-enforcement agencies.
In the process of combating the illicit trade in wild animal, the public awareness does matter, but, as an expert advocates, severe measures must be taken to contain the situation .In China, the most effective way is to illegalize all the manufacture and trade of ivory and give severe punishment to the offenders, only in this way could lessen the poaching activities at root.
Article at the following link:

CHINA PUBLICLY CRUSHES IVORY WITH THE MESSAGE: WE DO NOT NEED IVORY

CHINA PUBLICLY CRUSHES IVORY WITH THE MESSAGE: WE DO NOT NEED IVORY.

06/01/2014

This original link for this article can be found in this link: http://www.chinanews.com/gn/2014/01-06/5698875.shtml

According to an article on China media, this afternoon, the State Forestry Administration and the General Administration of Customs of China will hold a public destruction of confiscated ivory in  event in Guangzhou, China. It is reported that the amount of ivory that will be publicly destroyed is 6.1 tons. This is the first time China has publicly destroyed ivory, demonstrating the Chinese government firmly opposes and seriously maintains its position on illegal wildlife trade.

According to the State Forestry Demonstration, the event this afternoon, the ivory will be gathered in a neat area, after which it will be destroyed. The event will start at 1530hrs. Then, the staff will take the small ivory materials and products and feed them directly to the crushing machine. For the large tusks, they will first use the chainsaws to cut the ivory to smaller pieces, after which they will then sent to the mill. Due to the amount of ivory to be destroyed and the cutting of ivory into smaller parts before been put into the mill for crushing, the 2 ivory crushers will keep going for several hours to ensure that the ivory has been completely crushed. Another reporter also learned that, after the destruction of this ivory, some of which will be used for public education and public warning exhibition hall of the museum, the rest will be stored centrally.

All along, the ivory was been touted as an investment vehicle, been considered as “white gold” and as a result the prices were soaring all the way. According to insiders, before the year 1990, a kilogram of ivory did not exceed 1000 yuan (ksh.15,000), but now, in the black markets, a kilogram of ivory has risen up to between 20,000 and 30,000 yuan (Ksh. 300,000 and ksh.450,000). Over the last 20 years, the price of ivory has risen to over 30 times.

This time, all the ivory that will be destroyed was confiscated in the illegal ivory trade war, but taking into consideration the commercial value and the use value, online friends are asking: Direct destruction of ivory is a pity, ivory has many uses, why not take advantage of the national income to avoid a wastage of natural resources? Why did the Chinese government have to bear huge losses in an effort to destroy it?

Destruction of ivory is a huge loss for the government, so when a country takes such measures, it also indicates that the government will in the future end this trade. Keeping safe the ivory seized by the government is also a huge task. Huge profits will induce the criminals to take extraordinary actions . Many of the countries that have stockpiles have in the past experienced cases where ivory has been stolen from the stores. Thus the destruction of ivory can save on the manpower and resources to be used to reduce the possibility of induced crime.

In relation to today’s ivory crushing activity, the CITES Secretary General John Scanlon said “I hope that those involved in illegal activities will listen. If you continue to engage in the illegal ivory trade, then eventually will be seized and will face severe punishment. Investments made in the illegal trade will in future be rewarded in form of prison terms, heavy fines and confiscation of property. ”

According to calculations of mature elephants, the ivory grows up to between 1 and 2 meters in length. Therefore so as to get ivory of a total weight of 6 tonnes, it means that up to 40 elephants were brutally killed.

Recently, it was reported that there was a vicious massacre of elephants in Zimbabwe where more than 300 elephants were poisoned using cyanide. At that time, a picture that was taken from the air was startling: elephant carcasses lie all over the park, some of the pictures captured scenes of young elephants lying by the carcasses of their mothers. It is really painful.

The background of every elephant tusk in the illegal ivory trade is a story of bloodshed, and allowing the people to escape punishment for their selfish interests, even after their cruel actions is really cruel. Through investigations, IFAW found out that the international illegal ivory trade chain includes 4 links which are: consumers, poachers, smugglers and the markets. In order to completely destroy the illegal ivory trade chain and protect the elephants, many countries all around the world are taking part in the efforts to end these bloody killings. IFAW’s Asia Director believes that this action by the Chinese government will send a message to the world saying “We do not need Ivory.”

Ge Rui: “Many people who use ivory do not know that this ivory was acquired after an elephants was brutally murdered. Crushing the ivory sends to the whole world an important message: telling the poachers in Africa that the Chinese people do not need ivory. It is also a message to the smugglers, telling them that illegal ivory will in no way be allowed into China, thus to the consumer, the message is deep, that they should make informed decisions when making purchases, and choose the right decisions.”

A professor at the Beijing Normal University’s department of Science Studies Zhang Li, who has been involved in the research and protection of the Asian elephant, has in the recent past been calling for the destruction of ivory as a way of managing the confiscated ivory. He believes that from the action that has been taken by the Chinese government this time, it shows that the Chinese government is determined in fighting the illegal ivory trade on the one side, while on the other side; it can guarantee that these ivory products can’t make their way back into to the market.

Zhang Li: “Through this action to destroy the ivory in the stockpiles, it is an honest message and a sign to the world from the Chinese government showing its stand on the illegal ivory trade. I think that this is a very big sign by the Chinese government. Currently, going by the events in the last 2 years, the African elephants have met a very unfriendly environment where they have been under much attack. In the more than 30 African countries that are monitored by CITES, the data in the last 2 years, that is 2011 and 2012 indicate that the numbers of elephants that have been poached have been higher than the average rate of growth of the natural populations. The African elephant has an annual decrease rate of 2% of the entire population of elephants in Africa.”

The main reasons for this is the fact that because the benefits of the illegal ivory trade are profit driven, it has led to rampant poaching activities, so our country, after The Philippines and America, has taken up to destroy a large stock of confiscated ivory, which means that the Chinese government is determined in its fight against smuggled ivory. (Journalist: Han Xiu)

Article translated by Chris Kiarie.

 

 

 

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