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BEIJING, Jan. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report by China.org.cn on China fully banning the ivory trade:
"From Dec. 31, 2017, the ivory trade and processing for commercial purposes will be totally banned in China. The buying and selling of ivory goods will be against the law thereafter."
A few days before the New Year's Day, the State Forestry Administration made this encouraging announcement on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo, describing it as "China's New Year gift to the elephants."
Today, the ivory trade is still conducted in secretive corners of the world. People like ivory because of its creamy white color and delicate sense of touch.
In the past, Chinese people were fond of ivory, too. Ivory carving is a traditional folk art, and has been listed as a national intangible cultural heritage. Due to this cultural background, some Chinese people once had a strong interest in collecting ivory handicrafts.
However, the human love for ivory led to rampant trafficking and a sharp decline of the African elephant. Since a third of elephant's tusks are embedded in its head, poachers slaughter the animal to gain a full harvest. In the past, many people were unaware of this fact, and some trading companies conveniently ignored it out of their desire to seek profits.
So, it's encouraging to know that China has joined other countries by fully banning the ivory trade. Hopefully, it will further reduce ivory trafficking and elephant poaching. It's also significant to the protection of wildlife.
Meanwhile, China is encouraging inheritors of ivory carving to develop the technique using alternative materials. The aim is to try and strike a balance between cultural inheritance and ecological conservation through a sound approach. In this way, it will become possible to leave future generations not only an ancient technique, but also a grand vision and a pleasant natural environment.
Chinese people are showing increasing care and responsibility for humanity's living environment. For over a decade, Yao Ming, a famous Chinese basketball player, had been calling for an end of the ivory trade in various ways. Huang Hongxiang, a Chinese graduate of Columbia University, went undercover to Africa to investigate the trade in ivory and rhino horn. His experience was recorded in The Ivory Game, an American documentary film. The contribution made by those individuals to wildlife protection deserves praise.
The total ban on the ivory trade should not have been "a gift for elephants," since human activities are not supposed to damage ecology. China is taking action to improve ecological conservation, an undertaking requiring global efforts and mutual supervision between different countries. Actually, protecting wildlife and the planet in a sound way is "a gift to humanity itself."
China bans ivory trade in 'New Year gift' to humanity
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