Penalty enhanced for eating endangered species

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 22, 2014
Adjust font size:

A draft revision of China's Criminal Law is aiming to clearly define that eating endangered wild animals, or buying them for that or any other purpose, is illegal.

It was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, yesterday for a first reading.

Eating rare wild animals is not only shameful social conduct but also one of the main reasons why illegal hunting continues across the country despite repeated crackdowns, said Lang Sheng, deputy head of the committee's Legislative Affairs Commission, who was explaining the bill to lawmakers.

Currently, 420 species of wild animals are considered rare or endangered by the Chinese government. They include giant pandas, golden monkeys, Asian black bears and pangolins.

The bill states that anyone who eats animals on the endangered list or who buys them for that or any other purpose, will be considered in violation of the Criminal Law and liable to a prison term that could exceed 10 years, depending on the severity of the case.

The current law bans the hunting of any wild animals, but there is a snag.

It fails to clarify whether buying the hunters' prey breaks the law.

That's why many buyers can walk away unpunished.

"In fact, buyers are a major motivator of large-scale illegal hunting," Lang said.

To close the loophole, the bill states that anyone knowingly buying any wild animals that are the product of illegal hunting is considered to have perpetrated a crime and be liable to a sentence of three years in prison.

Having one of the world's richest wildlife resources, China is home to around 6,500 vertebrate species, or about 10 percent of the world's total.

More than 470 terrestrial vertebrates are indigenous to China, including giant pandas, golden monkeys, South China tigers and Chinese alligators.

However, the survival of the country's wildlife is seriously challenged by illegal hunting, the consumption of wild animal products and a deteriorating environment.

The bill will be the 10th revision of the Criminal Law by the top legislature since it took effect in 1997.

Other issues detailed in the draft bill concern social insurance fraud, company registration fraud and organizations involved in violating personal rights.

Since the current law does not regulate social insurance fraud, offenders have faced different penalties.

Some have been prosecuted and jailed; some given administrative punishment; while others have walked free after returning illegally gained goods, Lang said.

The top legislature's clarification was needed to better fight crime, he said.

The bill puts defrauding social insurance through cheating, faked documents and other means under the offense of swindling public and private money or property. This means an offender can face more than 10 years in prison.

The Criminal Law may also be updated in line with the latest amendment to company law made last December.

Shareholders responsible

The revised law removes the requirement on an ordinary company to deposit a set amount of money from out of its registered capital and to obtain a business license. Instead, shareholders of the company take the responsibility of confirming contributions.

The bill would lift criminal penalties on shareholders of these companies if they made a false capital contribution.

The current two provisions about capital contribution fraud will only be applied to a few kinds of companies such as banks that are still required to deposit registered capital.

The bill also clarifies that if an organization is involved in violating the personal and property rights of a citizen, the individuals in the organization who mastermind and commit such crimes should be held responsible.

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from