"Birds, Don't Fly Away!" NPC Deputy

For four straight years, Gong Zheng, a law maker from east China's Jiangxi Province, has submitted 12 motions all concerning the protection of birds, particularly white cranes, an endangered species under government protection.

Gong, a photographer, said, “If we did not effectively protect the habitat for white cranes, these beautiful birds would fly away sadly.”

White cranes like to approach human beings and are considered one of the most beautiful birds in the world.

Statistics show that 98 percent of such cranes choose to spend winter on the Boyang Lake in Jiangxi. From the mid-1990s, however, Gong found fewer and fewer white cranes coming to the lake to spend winter.

With an increased population, local residents are now vying with the birds in obtaining food. Some fishermen caught fish indiscriminately, thus damaging the habitat for white cranes. Industrial water discharged into the lake also aggravated their habitat.

A few people went so far as to kill the birds for sale or to eat their flesh, Gong said indignantly.

He began to submit motions on protection white cranes from the first session of the National People's Congress, China’s top legislature.

His motions called for formulating the《Law on Protecting the Boyang Lake Wetland Ecology,》revising the 《Law on Protecting the Wildlife》and formulating the《Law Regarding Construction and Management of Nature Reserves and Ecological Demonstrative Zones.》

With these proposals and photos showing white cranes shot

dead, he went to various media organizations and government departments, appealing for efforts to help the birds regain their lost habitat.

In response to his appeal, the Jiangxi Provincial Department of Public Security launched in 1999 a campaign to crack down on white crane sellers and hunters. The quality of Boyang Lake has been improved as a result of efforts to control water pollution around the lake.

To Gong’s delight, He found in early 2001 that flocks of white cranes had returned Boyang Lake.

(People's Daiy 03/07/2001)