Beijing backtracks, bans trade in tiger and rhino parts
by Wang Zhicheng

In a rare move, China bows to strong pressures from local and foreign environmentalists. Only 30 tigers are left in the wild in China.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - China is backtracking on its decision to legalise the trade of tiger and rhino parts following criticisms against the government that such a move could increase the risks for endangered species.

Yesterday, Ding Xuedong, executive deputy secretary-general of the State Council, told Xinhua that the government decided to postpone the order issued last month to lift a ban on trading in rhino and tiger products.

“The Chinese government has not changed its stance on wildlife protection and will not ease the crackdown on illegal trafficking and trade in rhinos, tigers and their by-products and other criminal activities,” Ding said.

It is not clear how long the ban will last. The move appears to be a rare concession by the Chinese government under mounting pressure from domestic and international environmental advocates.

China banned trade and use of rhino horns and tiger bones in 1993.

Traditional Chinese medicine believes the animal parts have strong medicinal effects and can treat various diseases.

Zoologists estimate that there are fewer than 30 tigers living in the wild in China.