China has crushed several tons of confiscated ivory in a move meant to illustrate the government's seriousness about cracking down on illegal trading. Animal welfare groups spoke of a powerful symbolic act.
China has destroyed about six tons of illegal ivory from its large stockpile in what wildlife groups have viewed as an unprecedented move in the world's biggest market for elephant tusks.
Forestry and customs officials organized China's first large-scale ivory crushing action in southern Guangdong province where much of the nation's was focused.
Authorities displayed a pile of ornaments, carvings and tusks to reporters, before feeding the ivory into two crushing machines on Monday.
The destroyed ivory was reported to have come in shipments from Africa intercepted by customs officers, as well as from carving factories and shops across China.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare said the destruction was a powerful symbolic act showing the government was "concerned about the toll ivory trafficking was taking on elephant populations."
With its move Monday, China followed other countries such as the Philippines and Gabon in destroying at least parts of their ivory stocks.
hg/jm (Reuters, AP)