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China's fight against illegal wildlife trade hailed at global conference

Editor: Zhang Pengfei 丨Xinhua

09-27-2016 09:11 BJT

JOHANNESBURG, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- China was applauded on Monday for taking noticeable steps in fighting illegal trade of endangered species at the ongoing world wildlife conference in Johannesburg.

Steven Broad, executive director of TRAFFIC, a wildlife protection organization, told Xinhua that China's commitment to the conservation of both plant and animal species is encouraging, while attending the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

"TRAFFIC and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are greatly encouraged by the commitment announced by President Xi Jinping in September last year to impose a near complete ban on ivory imports," Broad said.

He noted that significant progress has been achieved as a result of various measures implemented by China.

Broad said that TRAFFIC has seen "some very positive developments" in a number of areas related to wildlife trade in the area of national legislation, restructuring of authorities, trade management, law enforcement, monitoring, capacity building and international cooperation.

"Many of these achievements are best practices and service models that other country can emulate," he said.

In his address to delegates attending the conference on Saturday, CITIES Secretary-General John Scanlon said China has been effective both domestically and internationally in combating illegal wildlife trade.

Scanlon said that China has very strong domestic penalties and people are given very long custodial sentences for illegal trade particularly as it affects ivory.

Scanlon also applauded China for successfully leading Operation Cobra that targeted wildlife crime across countries. He thanked President Xi for ensuring countrywide commemoration of the Word Wildlife Day and closing the space for criminals.

"President Xi's anti-corruption measures continue to have a positive impact on illegal wildlife trade," Scanlon added.

The COP17 conference, which opened on Saturday and will last until October 5, is deliberating on different or even conflicting proposals on how to better preserve wildlife. Representatives from over 180 countries are taking part in the conference.

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