China approves 10-year jail terms for eating rare animals

The rising number of people eating rare animals in China has prompted the country to introduce tough new jail sentences that could see offenders jailed for 10 years or more.

China will jail people who eat rare animals, including the panda, for 10 years or more Credit: Reuters

Spending thousands of yuan to eat rare or endangered animals is considered a status symbol among some of the country's wealthiest people.

A new interpretation of the criminal law passed yesterday "clears up ambiguities about buyers of prey of illegal hunting" and means people found eating protected animals face jail sentences ranging from three years to more than 10 years, Xinhua said.

China lists 420 species as rare or endangered, including the panda, golden monkeys, Asian black bears and pangolins.

"Eating rare wild animals is not only bad social conduct but also a main reason why illegal hunting has not been stopped despite repeated crackdowns," said Lang Sheng, deputy head of parliament's Legislative Affairs Commission.