Trade in endangered fauna and flora is to be regulated in China from September 1 and officials say the country's first regulation covering this issue will be strictly enforced.
The rules cover wildlife listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). China became a member of the group in 1980.
Chen Jianwei, deputy director of the Office of State Endangered Species Trade Management, said the rules forbid trading in wildlife and related products banned by the CITES convention.
The regulations make it clear that approval from the Chinese government is required for the export and import of wildlife and wildlife products for non-commercial purposes such as scientific research, breeding or exchanges.
Zhang Jianlong, deputy director of the State Forestry Administration, said the rules, known as the Regulations on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, would play an important role in protecting endangered species, safeguarding the ecology and assist sustain endangered plant life. .
Fan Xiaojian, deputy minister of agriculture, said the rules would also protect grain, ensure biological safety and promote sustainable development of agriculture and rural economies.
China's rich bio-diversity has nearly 20,000 aquatic animals and around 600 aquatic plants. The country's grasslands are home to approximately 7,000 plants and 10,000 animals. But the country's wildlife resources are under unprecedented threat from fast economic and social development, said the deputy minister.
Frequent international exchanges and a rapid increase of international trade in wildlife could drain biological resources and lead to an invasion of foreign species, he warned. The Ministry of Agriculture, which is responsible for management of aquatic creatures and plants, would enforce the regulations, he said.
Willem Wijnstekers, secretary-general of CITES, welcomed the new regulations as they signaled the progress China had made in complying with the convention.
The regulations stipulate government departments at both central and local levels must crack down on illegal trade in wildlife such as the pelts of large cats and ivory, said the secretary-general.
Other laws, regulations coming into effect September 1
A number of new laws and regulations ranging from compulsory education to data protection and which will impact on the daily lives of people and the country come into effect in China on Friday, September 1.
The new regulations include:
- Free compulsory education ensured
"Equal compulsory education for children in cities and the countryside" was for the first time written into the newly-revised Compulsory Education Law. The revised law is to ensure children get nine years of free compulsory education. The costs will be met by local and central governments. They're required to include the expenditure in their budgets.
- Reservoir compensation funds guaranteed
The State Council's Subsidy Policies for People Who Were Relocated to Make Way for Dams and Reservoirs becomes effective on September 1.
The central government will spend more than 13 billion yuan (1.63 billion U.S. dollars) every year subsidizing 22 million people who were moved to make way for water reservoirs created by dams. The money will be raised by increasing power bills by 0.62 cents per kilowatt hour.
China has built more than 3,000 large and medium-sized dams since 1949 for flood control, electricity generation, irrigation and water supply.
- Controls on explosives tightened
China issued strict new controls and regulations on the civilian use and storage of explosives after a series of accidental explosions in recent years. The government will also establish a database to monitor all transactions and transport of explosives. All manufacturers, vendors and users are to establish a registration system that ensures the quantities, type and the destination of explosives are entered into the government's database.
- Protection of mapping data
The Mapping Management Regulation states that important mapping data must only be released by the government.
- Prohibition of foreign aid fraud
The Ministry of Commerce's "Foreign Aid Guidebook" attempts to remove corruption from the management of relief materials and financial aid destined for foreign countries. No department or agency will be allowed to seek illegitimate gains through collusion with bidding companies, it says. The ministry will evaluate each foreign aid project and penalize those who violate the regulation. The penalty includes fines of 30,000 yuan (US$3,750).
(Xinhua News Agency August 31, 2006)