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Yao Ming: buying ivory is buying bullets

Xinhua, March 6, 2014 Adjust font size:

Former NBA star and Chinese icon Yao Ming on Thursday called for the eradication of sales of illegal animal products through legislation and promotion of animal protection awareness among the public.

"Buying ivory is buying bullets," Yao, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing annual session of the country's top political advisory body.

China introduced special protection for endangered species, such as pandas, golden monkeys and white-flag dolphins, in late 1980s, and strictly banned poaching and trading.

Between December 2013 and January 2014, the country led an operation code-named Cobra II against international wildlife crimes, which cracked over 350 cases involving the capture of more than three tonnes of ivory and ivory products, over 1,000 hides and a number of other wildlife products.

The operation was co-organized by China, the United States, South Africa, the Lusaka Agreement Task Force, the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network, and the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network.

In January, the Chinese government also destroyed 6.1 tonnes of confiscated ivory it had seized over the years in south China's Guangdong Province.

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