China postpones move to undo ban on tiger, rhino parts
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China postpones move to undo ban on tiger, rhino parts

THE Chinese government on Monday said it would postpone its reversal of the ban on rhino horn and tiger parts for medicinal and cultural purposes following a slew of protests from conservation groups over its plans to ease the decades-old ruling.

China’s State Council Executive Deputy Secretary-General Ding Xuedong said the reversal of the ban had been “postponed after study”, Reuters reported.

Without elaborating on the reason for the postponement, or announcing the duration, Xing said the old ban remained in force.

SEE ALSO: China relaxes ban on tiger and rhino parts for ‘special’ purposes

“The ‘three strict bans’ will continue to be enforced: strictly ban the import and export of rhinos, tigers and their byproducts; strictly ban the sale, purchase, transport, carrying and mailing of rhinos, tigers and their byproducts; and strictly ban the use of rhino horns and tiger bones in medicine,” Ding said.

Ding said authorities would continue to “organise special crackdown campaigns” and address “the illegal trade of rhinos, tigers and their byproducts.”

“Illegal acts will be dealt with severely,” Ding said.

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Indonesian wildlife officials show off seized animal parts, including a tiger skin, in Medan on Oct 17, 2016. Source AFP

In October, the government eased the ban by classifying tiger products and rhino horn as “antiques” that could be used in “cultural exchanges” that could be used with the approval of the relevant authorities.

The relaxing of the ban, which was enforced in 1993, did not allow the products to be traded on the  market or the internet.

SEE ALSO: Tiger, clouded leopard skins among illegal wildlife parts seized in Malaysia 

However, the notice in October allowed them to be used under “special circumstances”, like medical and scientific research, education, and for “cultural exchanges”.

The council said the bones of tigers or horns of rhinos that were bred in captivity for medical research or for treatment of critical illnesses could be used, prompting outrage from conservation groups.

“Even if restricted to antiques and use in hospitals, this trade would increase confusion by consumers and law enforcers as to which products are and are not legal, and would likely expand the markets for other tiger and rhino products,” the World Wildlife Fund said.