|Statement of the Spokesman of Chinese Embassy on Tiger Conservation|
The tiger is one of the most popular animals in China, and this magnificent animal has been part of the rich texture of Chinese culture for centuries.
China is rigorously protecting the tiger though stringent enforcement of legislation and has one of the toughest law against wildlife crimes in the world. The tiger was among the first protected animal species in the country and the trade in tiger parts was banned since 1993.
Research by wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC indicate that medicinal use of tiger bone has considerably decreased. Such measures did meet with resistance from some parts of the Traditional Chinese Medicine industry in China, however most TCM practitioners support this ban by using effective alternatives.
Among the innovative schemes backed by the Chinese Government is the South China Tiger Reintroduction project run by Save China's tigers Foundation (http://english.savechinastigers.org/), a London-based charity founded by Chinese conservationist Li Quan, which has achieved encouraging results.
We are happy to see that the Chinese Year of the Tiger, which formally began on February 14th, 2010, has spurred fresh conservation initiatives and funding at home and broad.
The Chinese government recently issued a directive calling for increased protection of wild tigers through habitat management, public education and stronger law enforcement action. We are also discussing a three stage, multimillion-dollar scheme with the World Bank and NGOs to protect the Amur tiger.
However, there is always room for improvement and there are two sides to every story. The recent reports by some British media are alarming and the competent department is currently looking into that. Even it is true, it is by no means the general trend and it is against the mainstream sentiment in China.
We can say categorically that the implication that the Chinese government is tacitly supporting the mistreatment of captive tigers and the trade in tiger parts is both groundless and untrue. Any illegal trade in tiger or tiger parts will be severely punished according to law.
We are fully confident that thanks to united efforts of tiger-loving people worldwide, the tiger will be better conserved and its glory will be restored.