Updated: 04/24/2014 23:44 | By Agence France-Presse

China 'approves jail terms for rare wild animal eaters'

China's legislature voted on Thursday to approve a legal measure that will jail people caught eating rare wild animals, state media reported.


China 'approves jail terms for rare wild animal eaters'

China passes a new criminal law which states that anyone eating or purchasing rare or endangered animals -- such as giant pandas, golden monkeys, and pangolins -- could face more than 10 years in jail - by Paul J. Richards

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) approved a new interpretation of China's Criminal Law at a bimonthly session, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The NPC, China's top legislature, met in full session in March. However the NPC Standing Committee has the authority to pass legislation and make legal changes on its own.

The report said that China's government deems 420 species of wild animals as rare or endangered. 

The animals include giant pandas, golden monkeys, Asian black bears and pangolins, the report said.

Under the legal interpretation passed Thursday, people who eat animals on the list or purchase them for other purposes will be considered in violation of the Criminal Law.

Depending on the crime, violators could face more than 10 years in jail, the report added.

The killing of endangered animals and the use of their body parts -- such as rhino horns and shark fins -- in traditional medicine and as food delicacies has been identified as a global menace. 

Demand from increasingly wealthy Asian consumers has been blamed for helping to fuel the trade.

In February, the global environmental watchdog International Union for Conservation of Nature, based in Switzerland, identified more than 11,000 threatened animal species, many of which are increasingly the object of global trafficking.

The new interpretation of China's law clarifies the role of people who purchase illegally hunted animals, the report added.

"It regulates that knowingly buying any wild animals that are prey of illegal hunting... will face a maximum three-year imprisonment," Xinhua said.

The report said that up to now, many people who bought such wild animals had avoided any punishment.

"In fact, buyers are a major motivator of large-scale illegal hunting," Lang Sheng, deputy head of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, told reporters, according to Xinhua.

Xinhua said the interpretation of the Criminal Law by the NPC was the 10th since taking effect in 1997. 

It said the law has been amended nine times.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。