Beijing court uses cases to promote conservation awareness

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On May 22, International Day for Biological Diversity, Beijing Fangshan District People’s Court introduced two typical cases related to biodiversity conservation to the public using social media.

Case 1

In early January 2020, the defendant, Gao, purchased a Sulcata tortoise online for the price of 750 yuan ($110) from a technology company in Hunan. After the tortoise’s death in December 2020, Gao kept it as a specimen for storage.

The Sulcata tortoise is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and is a second-level national protected animal in China.

After the trial, the court found that Gao’s behavior had constituted a crime and should be punished. In view of the fact that he pled guilty, he was given a lighter sentence of six months in prison, suspended for one year, and fined 2,000 yuan.

Case 2

From October 2020 to March 2021, a defendant surnamed Na hunted hares on many occasions without approval, in H town, Beijing.

After the trial, the court held that Na had violated the hunting regulations many times and that the circumstances were serious. He was sentenced to a fine of 5,000 yuan and his hunting equipment was confiscated.

Legal basis

The above two cases are based on Article 341 of the Criminal Law, according to which, hunting, killing, purchasing, transporting, selling, or eating rare and endangered wild animals under national key protection, is illegal.

Depending on the seriousness of the crime, sentences can range from a short-term detention of less than a few months, to fixed-term imprisonment of more than 10 years, in addition to a fine or confiscation of property.

Also, in Beijing, Implementation Measure No. [2021] 241 issued by the Bureau of Landscaping last September states that hunting is prohibited in the entire administrative area of the city.