(Beijing, China, March 23, 2016) According to an announcement by China’s State Forestry Administration, China will extend the validity of the prohibition on importing African ivory carvings and monuments presented in the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) in 2015. The period of this prohibition will commence on March 20, 2016 and continue until December 31, 2019. The Chinese government has also made an interim decision to prohibit the import of ivory and derived products before the commencement date of the CITES. These decisions have earned the praise of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW, www.ifaw.org.cn).
In order to save endangered elephants, China has destroyed confiscated ivory twice since January 2014, and the Special Autonomous Region of Hong Kong has promised to destroy 30 tons of confiscated ivory as well. On September 25, 2015, President Xi Jinping and Obama announced that China and the United States would comprehensively prohibit ivory imports and exports and introduce relevant policies to restrict the imports of ivory monuments. The two countries have also decided to take effective and timely measures to terminate their domestic ivory trade.
According to an investigation by Rapid Asia, an independent research group, 60% of Chinese ivory consumers indicated they wouldn’t buy ivory products if the government prohibits the business comprehensively.
“Comprehensively prohibiting ivory imports shows the commitment of heads of state to protect elephants, and represents a major step by China in controlling the domestic ivory trade”, said Ge Rui, the General Representative of IFAW Asia. “To shame the ivory trade and reduce its consumption, we must prohibit the domestic ivory trade as soon as possible, supplemented with effective laws to punish persons or organizations conducting illegal trade of ivory.”