Chinese crush on ivory

 Paul Jacko

I feared for elephants and no sooner published my fears on Fog of Chaos on the 3rd of this month when China reacted, as the following official picture shows. Though it looks like an auction to me, it, according to the Wall Street Journal of 7th January, apparently shows the crushing of more than six tons of smuggled ivory.


china.ivoryChinese government officials destroyed more than six tons of ivory that had been illegally smuggled into the country, signalling that Beijing is willing to play a greater role in protecting dwindling elephant populations.

 … Monday’s move comes as Beijing takes tentative steps toward playing a greater role in protecting wildlife outside its borders. A year ago, Beijing signalled it would ban shark-fin soup—a delicacy that has taken a toll on shark populations—at official banquets.

 I guess only at the official banquets likely to be attended by gweilos. Chinese are good at signalling.

 At a global conservation conference in March, it co-sponsored with the U.S. measures to increase the level of protection afforded to more than 40 animal species, most of which are predominantly threatened by Chinese diners.

40 ! Threatened species must taste better.

 But it has also been reluctant to move against legal markets for the sale and trade of wild animals in China. State-sanctioned ivory engravers each year receive an allocation that China legally bought from a handful of African nations in 2008. According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, a wildlife group, smugglers can easily launder illegal ivory through that market.

 Still, environmental groups welcomed China’s decision to, for the first time, crush part of its stockpile of confiscated ivory. “This act should send a message that there is no future for an illegal ivory trade that sponsors poaching, damages African economies and funds terror and insurgent groups,” said Peter Knights, executive director of wildlife group WildAid.

 Has Mr Knights heard about the four supply and demand laws? Just in case:

 If demand increases and supply remains unchanged, a shortage occurs, leading to a higher equilibrium price.

If demand decreases and supply remains unchanged, a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price.

If demand remains unchanged and supply increases, a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price.

If demand remains unchanged and supply decreases, a shortage occurs, leading to a higher equilibrium price.

Therefore, if the Chinese are getting richer, and there is less ivory available – greater profit for the poachers, smugglers and corrupt officials.

On Monday, according to Chinese authorities, a collection of large, unprocessed elephant tusks and hundreds of small ivory statues were chipped and ground into powder in the southern city of Guangzhou. The 6.1 tons of ivory had been collected by China’s General Administration of Customs and the State Forestry Administration. The crush represents only a small part of China’s stockpile of confiscated ivory, analysts say. …

 It marked the third significant ivory crush globally over the past six months. In June, the Philippine government crushed more than five tons of ivory, and in November the U.S. government crushed almost six tons.

 …. A study by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or Cites, in 2012 found that China is the only country in East Asia where demand for ivory is expanding in line with household incomes. … “The smuggling situation is very serious…and China is the biggest ivory market,” said Zhang Li, a member of the technical advisory group for a Cites program that monitors elephant poaching. “It is time to do something in this area to show that China is a big country which takes responsibility.”

 Undoubtedly we will see more shows. After all, China is a big country.


About Paul Jacko

Jacko was born in Czechoslovakia not long before the communist putsch in February 1948. He studied industrial chemistry there and left in 1969 for Australia, where he became a lawyer and established his own practice. He has now retired and beside hunting, fishing, camping, prospecting and playing golf he amuses himself by writing.
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3 Responses to Chinese crush on ivory

  1. Steve Gould says:

    Oh, maybe one day the Chinese will get rid of their rulers and start behaving decently.

  2. Free Jumbo says:

    Chinese know that they are above any and all round-eyes laws.

  3. Seng Hen says:

    You can’t trust us.

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