Animal Law Updates 2020 in China

January 8, 2021Zihao Yu

Introduction

In the year 2020, the legislation in Mainland China has changed a lot including the publication of the Civil Code. The Yangtze River Protection Law is designed to help the Yangtze River out from the situation almost without any fishery sources. The Biosecurity Law is published after the pandemic happens and protects the biosecurity for national security, public health, and safety. There is also a Decision by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress to ban eating consumption of wildlife.

Yangtze River Protection Law (长江保护法)

The Yangtze River Protection Law was adopted in December 2020 and will be effective from March. 1, 2021. This law was drafted and submitted by the NPC Environmental Protection and Resources Conservation Committee. The law has passed three rounds in December 2019, October 2020, and December 2020. The new law is aiming at the protection and restoration of the ecological environment in the Yangtze River Basin and regulating the activities of construction development, and industries and life.

Ecology Conservation

The state strictly protects the water source of the mainstream of the Yangtze River and important tributaries and establishes natural reserves such as national parks to protect the national ecological security barrier. (Article 24)


The State coordinates the construction of the natural reserve system in the Yangtze River Basin. The State Council and the Yangtze River Basin Provincial People's Government shall establish national parks in accordance with the law in the complete distribution areas of important typical ecosystems in the Yangtze River Basin, ecological environment sensitive areas, and natural concentrated distribution areas of precious wild animals and plants, important habitats, and important natural heritage areas, such as Nature reserves, natural parks, and other nature reserves. (Article 39)


The State Council and the people's government at the provincial level in the Yangtze River Basin shall delimit public welfare forests in important ecological areas and areas with fragile ecological conditions in the Yangtze River Basin and implement strict management. The state implements strict protection of natural forests in the Yangtze River Basin, and scientifically delimits key areas for natural forest protection. Local people's governments at or above the county level in the Yangtze River Basin should strengthen the protection of grassland resources in the Yangtze River Basin. (Article 40)


Ecological environmental restoration of the key lakes such as Taihu Lake, Poyang Lake, Dongting Lake, Chaohu Lake, and Dianchi Lake, will receive more support from the country. (Article 58)

"The Chinese alligator" by vivtony00 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Biology Conservation

The agricultural and rural authorities of the State Council and the local people's governments at or above the county level in the Yangtze River Basin shall formulate plans for the protection of precious and endangered aquatic wild animals and plants in the Yangtze River Basin, and implement key protection of the precious and endangered aquatic wild animals and plants in the Yangtze River Basin. (Article 42)


The state encourages qualified units to carry out investigations on finless porpoises, white porpoises, white sturgeons, Chinese sturgeons, Yangtze sturgeons, anchovies, shadds, Sichuan white turtles, Sichuan and Shaanxi philosopher salmons, mullet, mussels, round-mouth copper fish, and polyscaly Research on the habitat characteristics and population dynamics of aquatic wild animals and plants, such as white turtle, Chinese mud carp, perch, Ge Xianmi, arcuate algae, water cauliflower, etc., build artificial breeding and science education bases and organize the rescue of aquatic organisms. (Article 42) It is forbidden to breed or release alien species or other non-native species germplasm resources in the open waters of the Yangtze River Basin. (Article 42)


Anyone who breeds alien species or other non-native species germplasm resources in the open waters of the Yangtze River Basin shall be ordered at or above the county level to capture them within a time limit and impose a fine of less than 100,000 yuan; if serious consequences are caused, 100,000 yuan shall be imposed. (Article 85)


The competent department of forestry and grassland, agriculture and rural areas of the State Council shall formulate restoration plans and action plans for wild animals and plants that have dropped sharply or are critically endangered, habitats that have been severely damaged, natural concentrated distribution areas, and fragmented typical ecosystems in the Yangtze River Basin. Ex-situ conservation facilities, the establishment of gene banks of wild animals and plant genetic resources, and rescue restoration. (Article 59)


Ecological environment restoration and other protection measures shall be implemented in important habitats such as spawning grounds, feeding grounds, wintering grounds, and migratory passages for aquatic organisms in the Yangtze River Basin. A wading project that blocks the migration of fish and other aquatic organisms should take various measures such as the construction of fish passing facilities, river and lake connection, ecological regulation, irrigation of seedlings, gene preservation, multiplication and release, and artificial breeding, etc., to fully meet the needs of aquatic organisms. (Article 59)

Fishing Ban

The state implements strict fishing management in the key waters of the Yangtze River Basin. In the Yangtze River Basin Aquatic Biological Reserve, productive fishing is completely prohibited; within the time limit stipulated by the state, the mainstream and important tributaries of the Yangtze River, large lakes, and the designated area of the Yangtze River estuary, and other key water areas are completely prohibited from productive fishing of natural fishery resources. (Article 53) Fishing behaviors such as killing fish by the explosion, with poison or with electricity, etc., that damage fishery resources and the ecological environment are strictly banned and punished. (Article 53) The administrative measures for the prohibition and restriction of arrests in other waters of the Yangtze River Basin shall be formulated by the local people's governments at or above the county level. (Article 53)


Violating the provisions of this law, engaging in productive fishing in the Yangtze River Basin Aquatic Life Reserve, or engaging in productive fishing of natural fishery resources during the period of prohibition on fishing in key water areas such as the mainstream and important tributaries of the Yangtze River, large lakes, and the prescribed areas of the Yangtze River Estuary. The agricultural and rural authorities of the people’s government at or above the county level shall confiscate the catch, illegal income, and fishing boats, fishing gear and other tools used in illegal activities, and impose a fine of 10,000 yuan to 50,000 yuan; use electric fish, poisoned fish, Anyone who catches fish by frying fish or other serious circumstances shall be fined not less than 50,000 yuan but not more than 500,000 yuan. (Article 86)


For the purchase, processing, and sale of the fish caught in the preceding paragraph, the agricultural, rural, market supervision and management departments of the people’s government at or above the county level shall, in accordance with the division of responsibilities, confiscate the catch, its products, and illegal income, and deal with it ten times the value of the goods. If the circumstances are serious, the relevant production and operation license shall be revoked or the company shall be ordered to close down. ( Article 86)

Construction and Other Activities

The water administrative department of the State Council has strengthened the protection of rivers and lakes in the Yangtze River Basin. Local people's governments at or above the county level in the Yangtze River Basin are responsible for delimiting the management scope of rivers and lakes, and publicly announce to implement strict protection of rivers and lakes and prohibit illegal occupation of rivers and lakes. (Article 25)


The state implements special control over the shorelines of rivers and lakes in the Yangtze River Basin. The National Yangtze River Basin Coordination Mechanism coordinates the overall coordination of the State Council’s natural resources, water administration, ecological environment, housing and urban-rural construction, agriculture and rural areas, transportation, forestry and grassland, and other departments and the provincial people’s government in the Yangtze River Basin to delineate river and lake shoreline protection ranges, and formulate river The lake shoreline protection plan, strictly controls the shoreline development and construction, and promotes the rational and efficient use of the shoreline. (Article 26) It is forbidden to construct or expand chemical parks and chemical projects within 1 kilometer of the shoreline of the Yangtze River's trunk and tributaries. (Article 26) It is forbidden to build, rebuild, or expand tailings ponds within three kilometers of the shoreline of the Yangtze River and within one kilometer of the shoreline of important tributaries; except for the reconstruction for the purpose of improving safety and ecological environmental protection. (Article 26)


The competent department of transportation under the State Council, together with the competent departments of natural resources, water administration, ecological environment, agriculture and rural areas, forestry and grassland of the State Council, shall scientifically delineate no-navigation areas and restricted areas in the important habitats of aquatic organisms in the Yangtze River Basin. (Article 27)


Ships are prohibited from navigating within the designated no-navigation areas. Due to the national development strategy and the needs of the national economy and people’s livelihood, navigation in areas where navigation is prohibited in important habitats of aquatic organisms shall be agreed upon by the competent department of transportation under the State Council in consultation with the competent department of agriculture and rural areas of the State Council, and necessary measures shall be taken to reduce interference with important aquatic organisms. (Article 27) Strictly restrict the implementation of waterway improvement projects in the red line of ecological protection in the Yangtze River Basin, natural reserves, and important habitats for aquatic organisms; if the improvement is really necessary, it shall be scientifically demonstrated and relevant procedures shall be completed in accordance with the law. (Article 27)


Chapter 4 is designed for water pollution prevention and control in the Yangtze River Basin. (Article 43-51)

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Biosecurity Law of the People's Republic of China (中华人民共和国生物安全法)

The Law of Biosecurity is designed in order to maintain national security, prevent and respond to biosecurity risks, protect people’s lives and health, protect biological resources and the ecological environment, promote the healthy development of biotechnology, promote the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind, and achieve harmonious coexistence between man and nature. (Article 1)


Biosecurity refers to the country’s effective prevention and response to the threats of dangerous biological factors and related factors. Biotechnology can develop steadily and healthily. People’s lives and health and ecosystems are relatively in a state of no danger and threats. The biological field is capable of maintaining national security and sustainability. Ability to develop. (Article 2)


This law applies to the following activities:

  1. Preventing and controlling major newly emerging infectious diseases, animal and plant epidemics;

  2. Research, development, and application of biotechnology;

  3. Biosafety management of pathogenic microorganism laboratories;

  4. Safety management of human genetic resources and biological resources;

  5. Prevent the invasion of alien species and protect biodiversity;

  6. Dealing with microbial resistance;

  7. Preventing biological terrorist attacks and defending against biological weapon threats; and

  8. Other activities related to biosafety.

(Article 2)


This law provides the provision on the prevention and control of major new emerging infectious diseases, animal, and plant epidemics. (Chapter 3); biotechnology research, development, and application security (Chapter 4); the biosafety of pathogenic microorganism laboratories (Chapter 5); human genetic resources and biological resources security (Chapter 6); provides preventing bioterrorism and biological weapons threat (Chapter 7); and building biosafety capacity (Chapter 8).


Anyone who violates the provisions of this law and introduces used experimental animals into the market shall be ordered by the science and technology department of the people’s government at or above the county level to make corrections, confiscate the illegal gains, and impose a fine of between 200,000 yuan and 1 million yuan. If the amount is more than 200,000 yuan, a fine of five to ten times the illegal income shall be imposed; if the circumstances are serious, the relevant license shall be revoked by the license issuing department. (Article 77)


Anyone who violates the provisions of this Law and introduces alien species without approval shall be confiscated by the relevant departments of the people’s government at or above the county level according to the division of responsibilities and imposed a fine of 50,000 yuan to 250,000 yuan. (Article 81)


Anyone who violates the provisions of this law and releases or discards alien species without approval shall be ordered by the relevant departments of the people’s government at or above the county level according to the division of responsibilities to capture, retrieve, release or discard the alien species within a time limit, and impose a penalty of 10,000 yuan or more Fines below RMB yuan. (Article 81)

"Chinese Dog, Hutong" by adamclyde is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Civil Code of the People's Republic of China (中华人民共和国民法典)

The Part 3 Torts Liability in Civil Code replaced the Tort Law. Chapter 9 Liability for Harm Caused by Domestic Animal is with regards to the torts with regard to animals.

Where the animal raised causes damage to others, the animal breeder or manager shall bear the tort liability; however, if it can be proved that the damage was caused by the infringer's intentional or gross negligence, it may not be liable or mitigated responsibility. (Article 1245)

In case of violation of management regulations by failing to take safety measures on animals and causing damage to others, the animal breeder or manager shall bear tort liability; however, it can be proved that the damage was caused by the infringed intentionally. Reduce responsibility. (Article 1246)

Where any dangerous animal such as a violent dog that is prohibited from keeping causes damage to others, the animal breeder or manager shall bear tort liability. (Article 1247)

Where animals in a zoo cause damage to others, the zoo shall bear tort liability; however, if it can prove that it has fulfilled its management duties, it shall not bear tort liability. (Article 1248)

If an abandoned or escaped animal causes damage to others during the abandonment or escape, the original animal breeder or manager shall bear tort liability. (Article 1249)


If the animal causes damage to others due to the fault of a third party, the infringed party may request compensation from the animal breeder or manager, or request compensation from the third party. After making the compensation, the animal breeder or manager has the right to claim compensation from a third party. (Article 1250)

The raising of animals shall abide by laws and regulations, respect social ethics, and shall not hinder the lives of others. (Article 1251)


Part 2 Property does not mention animals.

"Siberian Tiger" by Emmy_Animals is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Other Legal Sources

The Ban on Wildlife

In February 2020, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress released the Decision to Comprehensively Prohibit the Illegal Trade of Wild Animals, Break the Bad Habit of Excessive Consumption of Wild Animals, and Effectively Secure the Life and Health of the People. The Decision bans the activities of hunting, trade, transportation, and eating wildlife animals. (Article 1)


Completely prohibit the consumption of “terrestrial wild animals with important ecological, scientific and social value” and other terrestrial wild animals protected by the state, and the terrestrial wildlife includes animals from artificial breeding and artificial raising. It is forbidden to hunt, trade, and transport terrestrial wild animals that naturally grow and reproduce in the wild for the purpose of food. (Article 2)


If wild animals need to be used for non-edible purposes due to special circumstances such as scientific research, medicinal use, and display, strict examination and approval, quarantine and inspection shall be implemented in accordance with relevant national regulations. (Article 4)


The State Council and local people's governments shall take necessary measures to provide corresponding guarantees for the implementation of this decision. Relevant local people's governments shall support, guide, and help affected farmers adjust and transform their production and business activities, and provide certain compensation based on actual conditions. (Article 7)


In April 2020, Shenzhen became the first city to ban the meat-eating of cats and dogs. And Zhuhai became the second city following Shenzhen to ban dog and cat meat-eating in the middle of April.


The Wildlife Conservation Law is under revision and calling for comments in November 2020.

Guidance Regarding Punishing Crimes of Illegal Wild Animal Trade (关于依法惩治非法野生动物交易犯罪的指导意见)


In December 2020, the Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security, and Ministry of Justice published the Guidance Regarding Punishing Crimes of Illegal Wild Animal Trade for the enforcement of the wildlife ban.


Severely crackdown on illegal hunting and killing of wild animals in accordance with the law, and prevent and control illegal wildlife trade from the source.


Severely crackdown on criminal acts of illegally purchasing, transporting, selling, importing, and exporting wild animals and their products in accordance with the law, and cut off the interest chain of illegal wildlife trade.


Severely crackdown on the illegal purchase of wild animals for food or other purposes in accordance with the law, and resolutely eliminate the bad habits of overeating wild animals

Typical cases of public interest litigation for wildlife protection by the Supreme People's Procuratorate (检察机关野生动物保护公益诉讼典型案例)

In February 2020, the Supreme People's Procuratorate published Typical Cases of Public Interest Litigation for Wildlife Protection. This series includes six typical cases of public interest litigation for wildlife protection.

The first case on videos with abused cats

A tort case is filed in 2020 and is still in process. The lawyer of the plaintiff holds that the online video of abusing cats made and uploaded by the defendant is harmful to the plaintiff’s health. The lawyer of the plaintiff thinks it is a violation of the Tort Law and Cybersecurity Law of the People's Republic of China.

Conclusion

2020 was a special year for the world’s population due to the effect of the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the government to improve for the protection of wildlife conservation, public health and public safety. The ban on wildlife changed the farming industry and the habit of people, and several cities have banned eating cats and dogs. The Yangtze Protection Law set the limitation of fishing and construction activities, which will benefit the aquatic animals and the terrestrial animals in the protected areas. The new Civil Code covers now torts with regards to animals but it does not mention animal welfare, nor animal in the property part. We have to look forward to the direct anti-cruelty or animal welfare provision in further years.

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