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Representatives of leading traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) companies have renounced the use of endangered plants and animals protected by national legislation and CITES in medicinal products.

The pledge was made at an event in Beijing initiated by TRAFFIC in collaboration with the China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine and China Wildlife Conservation Association.

According to China’s Criminal Law, those who are engaged in the purchasing, transporting and trading of tiger products shall be sentenced to 5 years or more in jail. Photo courtesy of TRAFFIC
According to China’s Criminal Law, those who are engaged in the purchasing, transporting and trading of tiger products shall be sentenced to five years or more in jail ©TRAFFIC

Some of the most famous traditional medicine companies in China and worldwide were present including Tongrentang, Leiyunshang, Pianzaihuang, Yunnanbaiyao, Lerentang and China TCM Co. The leading companies’ pledge follows earlier commitments made by the TCM sector in 2010 and 2013.

The use of products such as tiger bone, rhino horn, musk and saiga horn was formerly widespread in producing traditional Chinese medicines, including tiger bone wine, Angon Niuhuang Wan (for detoxifying and as an antipyretic), Liushen Wan (anti-inflammatory drugs), Lingyang Qingfei San (for nourishing lungs and relieving a sore throat).

However, in May 1993, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China banned the trade in rhinoceros horn, tiger bone and their medicinal derivatives in order to support the international conservation efforts to address the threat posed by commercial trade to rhinoceroses and tigers.

The ban included the removal of these items from the official pharmacopoeia of China, and the cessation of all formal manufacture and commercial trade within China.

At the event and speaking on behalf of the TCM companies present, Tongrentang, the world’s leading TCM Company, confirmed they never purchase and sell traditional Chinese medicine products made from wildlife from illegal sources and that any TCM company who breaks national legislation or international convention should be seriously punished.

According to China’s Criminal Law, those who are engaged in the purchasing, transporting and trading of tiger products shall be sentenced to five years or more in jail.

“We are delighted to hear leading Chinese TCM companies pledge zero tolerance towards illegal wildlife trade,” said Zhou Fei, Head of TRAFFIC in China. “TCM has played and continues to play a very important role in protecting the health of Chinese citizens. Today’s pledge sends a strong message that TCM companies are conscious of and serious about the conservation of endangered species.”

Zhang Shanning, Director of China’s CITES Management Authority, said: “Today’s pledge is firm evidence of the TCM industry’s commitment towards the Chinese government’s efforts to protect endangered species.”

The Chinese TCM sector becomes the third major industry to join the alliance saying no to illegal wildlife trade and support government and conservation efforts to protect endangered species.

TRAFFIC has initiated similar events leading to commitments to avoid illegal wildlife products by the E-Commerce industry in October 2014 and for the logistics industry in March 2015.

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