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China ivory ban bites online


Seized elephant ivory tusks are seen behind a customs cordon during a press conference at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound in Hong Kong on July 6, 2017. Hong Kong Customs have seized 7.2 tonnes of ivory tusks with an estimated market value of HKD 72 million (9.2 million usd) in the city’s largest bust in three decades.  PHOTO: AFP

China began to ban sales of ivory and ivory products from Sunday in a move that Chinese internet users hailed on social media with the slogan “no sales, no killings.”

“Starting Sunday, it will be unlawful for any market or shops to sell ivory or ivory products,” China’s forestry administration announced on its microblog on Sunday. “It will be considered unlawful to sell these products online. And it will also be unlawful to bring these products from abroad.”

A webpage with the Chinese language hashtag “make ivory products commercial no more” was viewed more than 146,000 times as of press time on Sunday. 

Many non-government organizations reposted the hashtag and released videos calling for an ivory trade ban.

Many China’s Net users wrote under the hashtag, “This is the right thing to do. And no sale, no killing.”

In a search of “ivory” on China’s domestic search engine Baidu, a notice pops up saying, “buying equals killing, please say ‘no’ to ivory products” at the top of the results, a Global Times reporter found on Sunday.

Online commercial platforms including returned no results on ivory products on their product searches.

However, some shops at an antique market in Beijing still sell ivory products on Sunday, and a shop assistant told the Global Times that the ivory products they sell were made of mammoth, not elephant.

“We are told that selling ivory products from elephants is illegal, but that it is OK to sell the tusks of long-dead woolly mammoths,” the shop assistant said.

A pendant made from mammoths displayed at the shop is being sold for 49,600 yuan ($7,623).

A shop assistant at another shop told the Global Times that they could not sell ivory products online and it is risky to display these products in their shop.

A necklace displayed at the shop sells for 3,600 yuan. 

The comprehensive ban would affect “34 processing enterprises and 143 designated trading venues,” the Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.

“This will shut down the world’s largest market for elephant ivory,” Aili Kang, executive director of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Asia, said in a statement, the Guardian reported.

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