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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Under pressure: the story behind China's ivory ban

Under pressure: the story behind Chinas ivory ban

For years Chinese government officials were followed around the world, at every meeting, by a single issue: the scores of dead elephants across Africa, and the international community that blamed China for this “ivory “holocaust”. 

Even the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, could not escape lectures on poached elephants and the evils of China’s legal domestic ivory trade from foreign leaders. For years, China deflected the criticism with claims of a long cultural heritage and incremental policies, such as a ban on ivory carving imports two years ago.

And then in June 2016, then president Barack Obama fulfilled a promise made during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, and imposed a near total ban on domestic ivory sales. China followed suit, and officials shut 67 carving workshops and retail stores in March 2017, with another 105 set to close by the end of the year. It was an astonishing U-turn – a far bigger step than campaigners had dared to hope for.

So how did this come about? In many ways, the country’s swiftly implemented ivory ban is a textbook case of international pressure effectively extractingconcessions for a country that often bucks global norms.

Full story at

Source: The Guardian

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