Bank's alleged ivory ad stirs public outcry

Updated 2017-12-22 10:00:29 Global Times

Poster in Beijing branch might be illegal, says forestry official

Internet users expressed outrage on Thursday after the Beijing branch of China Construction Bank allegedly set up a "last chance to buy ivory" advertising promotion.

The ad violated administrative rules, a forestry official claimed on Thursday.

The bank banner includes a QR code linked to the WeChat account of Beijing Gongmei Group where consumers can peruse more ivory products.

The company presented products priced between 300,000 (,000) and 500,000 yuan at the account. The products were later deleted.

It might be illegal to sell ivory online and the bank "does not have the State Forestry Administration's permission to sell ivory products," an administration official told the Global Times on Thursday. She did not give her full name.

In March, the State Forestry Administration ordered 67 of 172 accredited ivory stores to close before March 31. The remaining 105 including Gongmei must close by December 31. According to the list, three stores of the company were asked to close before December 31.

Outraged Internet users posted photos they claimed were taken at a Beijing branch of the China Construction Bank.

The bank's customers could allegedly enjoy a 45 percent discount on the "last collection" as all trading and processing of ivory and ivory products will be banned in fewer than 20 days.

Social media users expressed outrage at the bank's chutzpah, dubbing its behavior "presumptuous" and "unscrupulous."

In 2016, smuggled ivory seized in China fell 80 percent from previous peak years.

Beijing No. 4 Intermediate People's Court published a white paper on Thursday saying that most people mix products of rare animals with other things when smuggling them into China.

With ivory, some suspects even tied the ivory to their body and covered it with their jacket.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and TRAFFIC issued a report in December that found some 86 percent of 2,027 respondents from 15 Chinese cities supported the ban announced by the State Council in December last year.

More than half of ivory buyers have stopped buying and the ivory trade has dropped in the last three years in cities including Beijing and Chengdu where enforcement seems stricter and awareness greater, the survey found.

In August a WWF-TRAFFIC survey of 503 outlets in 22 cities where ivory was being sold illegally, found that on average only five ivory items were for sale per outlet.

That marked the lowest amount of publicly displayed ivory since 2007, compared with nine per shop in 2016 and 18 per shop in 2007.

The bank could not be reached by Global Times as of press time.

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