Really, China?

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Seized rhinoceros horns and other animal parts at the Department of Wildlife and National Parks headquarters in Kuala Lumpur in August.CreditCreditManan Vatsyayana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Javier C. Hernández shares this news from China, more frightening and more real than any Halloween horror story we can think of:

China Reverses Ban on Rhino and Tiger Parts in Medicine, Worrying Activists

BEIJING — The Chinese government, reversing a 25-year ban, announced on Monday that it would allow the use of rhinoceros horns and tiger bones in medicine, a move that environmentalists described as a significant setback for efforts to protect the animals from extinction.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, said in a policy directive that it would legalize the use of rhino horns and tiger bones for “medical research or in healing,” but only by certified hospitals and doctors, and only from rhinos and tigers raised in captivity, excluding zoo animals. While such remedies are highly profitable, they have no proven benefits to humans.

Environmentalists said the decision would likely help fuel a black market for wild rhino and tiger parts, which are revered in traditional Chinese medicine for supposed healing powers, and could lead to increased poaching of the fewer than 30,000 rhinos and 3,900 tigers still in the wild.“It’s a devastating decision,” said Leigh Henry, director of wildlife policy at the World Wildlife Fund in Washington. “I can’t overstate the potential impact.”

The announcement on Monday threatened to undermine President Xi Jinping’s efforts to promote an image of China as a responsible environmental steward capable of tackling global issues like climate change and air pollution.

“A small number of individuals stand to make a lot of money perhaps at the price of the species,” said Peter Knights, chief executive of WildAid, an environmental advocacy group based in San Francisco. He added that the decision “comes completely out of the blue and with no rationale.”

In 2016, China, along with the United States, announced that it would ban the sale of ivory. China’s domestic ban, which went into effect earlier this year, was widely applauded as a critical step in ending elephant poaching in Africa…

Read the whole article here.

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