Posted by: bklunk | June 21, 2007

Pacific Mascot Reconsiders Plans for Asian Tour

Tigers, or how China will treat them, has become an interesting point of friction between China and its neighbors like India. PowerCat, beware.

The Hindu News Update Service

New Delhi, June 22 (PTI): A senior government official on Thursday sharply reacted to China’s reported plans to review its 14-year-old ban on trade in bones from captive-bred tigers for traditional medicines and vowed to oppose the move.

“If they do any thing like that we will strongly and seriously oppose the move again. They have signed a resolution at the global forum to work for the protection of Asian Big Cats,” Rajesh Gopal of Tiger Conservation Authority of India said here.

He was referring to the recent meeting of the 171 members of the Convention of International Trades for Endangered Species (Cites) which in a recent meeting at The Hague had warned China that lifting the ban on the trade could drive wild tigers to extinction.

“They are bound by the Cites’ regulation,” Gopal said. Conservationists too have expressed their concern over China’s move, saying that it would prove death-knell to the Asian big cats in the wild.

“China has got a clear message from the world that it doesn’t want any trade of tiger’s body parts. If China decides so, it will be opposite to the what world wants,” Belinda Wright, prominent conservationist said.

Quoting Wang Wei, deputy wildlife director at the State Forestry Administration, China’s state media reported that “the ban would not be there forever, given the strong voices from tiger farmers, experts and society.”

Ravi Singh, secretary General of World Wildlife Fund was of the similar view saying that it (lifting of ban) would prove disaster to the tigers in the wild.

“China has its own internal trade of tiger’s body parts. But there is no method to segregate wild tiger from those bred in captivity,” he said.

Presently China has only about 50 tigers in wild but about 5,000 in captivity.

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  1. If China has sustainable development regarding tigers it could be argument that they could export bones as long as they are not jepardizing global population of tigers. But on the other side it is seen as negative externality for India and also many environmental NGO’s. India gives great value to big cats and perforiming great efforts for perservation of this species. Personaly I am against bone selling, but international institutions are to decide what ought to do about this example.

  2. I think this is a good example of those interesting situations where the lines between what falls under global commons and what is a matter of national or regional concern blurrs. While China might insist that they have the right to do as they please with tigers that exist within their territory, the rest of the world would, and has reacted strongly against news of impending tiger killing. Clearly there are forces working both within China and from the outside to prevent China from changing the bone-trading ban. However, are these forces strong enough to stop the Chinese government from acting. China is not a democracy and the government will ultimately make the final decision about the fate of the tigers, and I guess the only thing left to do is wait and see if the international community can come up with enough incentives or threats to prevent China from lifting the tiger bone ban.

  3. This is definately a problem with what is actually a country’s and what is not. There are always problems with what a state can actually do with the environment they hold, but when is enough enough? Those limits are different for different states, depending on the power, authority, or ties they have to or with other states. China could use this as an economic advantage, and with bone selling being taken away they could suffer some financial income. They could use this as leverage to keep the bone selling going. On the other hand they could be convinced to stop selling, either by persuasion, bribes, cooperation, etc. Either way something needs to be done with other global actors to find a common agreement from keeping the ban or lifting it for China.

  4. I agree with Anna on this issue. The line is definetly blurred on an issue like endangered species. Of course you can also bring up the point that people care more about fuzzy tigers than they do for endangered mosquitoes, but that is another argument. I think what trumps China’s argument is that they have signed an international agreement. If this was an issue that arose out of nowhere it would be a little more sticky; however, they signed an agreement. It goes farther than tigers, it deals with the message China sends to people participating with them in international negotiations. It really tarnishes China’s reputation as a credible nation to deal with.

  5. This is an interesting case that deals with environmental issues versus tradition. The Chinese have ancient medicine that include the bones of animals, changing this will take a lot of time and effort. Globalization has caused the state’s sovereignty to weaken over its own territory, but then again it will be better off for the world as a whole further in the future. One never knows how interconnected an ecosystem is until it falls apart.

  6. I agree with Anna’s post completely. The line between global commons good and national concerns is getting blurred. I also think the Jessica has raised a good point about globalization. With globalization national concerns are increasingly turned into global common concerns. So what China does to the tigers in their country may have an affect on its neighbors. Furthermore, because of globalization the rest of the world is aware of what China is doing to the tigers and may be appalled by this. This can lead to NGOs and private citizens putting pressure on their governments to try and stop China from doing what it is doing. I also agree with the point that China is losing sovereignty over its territory because of globalization. Because of this, this may be China’s attempt to try and regain some of its sovereignty by choosing to ignore Convention of International Trades for Endangered Species.

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