Animals, Forest Get a Judicial Boost

Two Supreme People's Court judicial interpretations (clarifications on the specific functions of a law) took effect Monday, aiming to better protect wild animals and the nation's forestry resources.

In its interpretation on criminal cases that endanger wild animals, the Supreme People's Court put forward a list of 210 animals, including pandas, tigers and elks, whose illegal hunting, acquisition, transportation and sale are said to be "crimes of serious or very serious consequences."

The animals are all protected by the country and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Even though the 1997 version of China's Criminal Law stipulates that the "actions of very serious consequences" in connection with particular wild animals can lead to more than 10 years imprisonment, it does not clarify what actions should be deemed to be "very serious."

Also listed as such actions in the judicial interpretation include the illegal acquisition, the transportation and the sale of more than 200,000 yuan (US$24,000) of products made from precious and endangered species and hunting more than 20 wild animals in preserves or during off seasons.

In the judicial interpretation on the trials of cases involving damage to the nation's forestry sources, the Supreme People's Court also clarified how much logging is considered a "large amount."

Crimes listed by the judicial interpretation include cutting down more than five cubic meters or 200 young trees without a permit, violating the permitted logging time limits, location, types of trees and logging methods and cutting down more than 1,000 young trees or 20 cubic meters of forest without a permit.

Such crimes can lead to imprisonment of up to seven years, according to China's Criminal Law.

Special permits issued by the forestry administrative departments are required in China for cutting down trees. Tighter restrictions have been imposed since 1998, when many parts of China suffered from devastating floods partially caused by rampant overlogging in the upper reaches of major national rivers bringing an economic loss of 200 billion yuan (US$24 billion).

According to the judicial interpretation, forestry administrative officials are restricted to the number of logging permits they issue. They are also charged with protecting rare varieties of trees.

(China Daily 12/12/2000)

In This Series

Forest Project Branches Out

Government Stumps Deforesters

Qinling Mountains Become Home to Rare Animals

A Paradise for Wild Animals

Program to Shield More Wildlife

Chinese Traditional Medicine Help Cure Wild Animals

Breakthrough Made in Forests Protection



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