Die Volksrepublik China liegt im Osten des eurasischen Kontinents, am westlichen Ufer des Pazifiks. Mit insgesamt 9,6 Millionen Quadratkilometern ist China eines der größten Länder der Erde. Damit ist China das drittgrößte Land der Erde. Es macht 1/4 des Festlands Asiens aus und entspricht fast 1/15 der Festlandsfläche der Erde. Die größte Ausdehnung von Ost nach West beträgt über 5 200 km.

China ist das bevölkerungsreichste Land der Welt. Die Bevölkerungszahl macht 21% der Weltbevölkerung aus. China ist ein einheitlicher Nationalitätenstaat mit 56 ethnischen Gruppen, wobei die Han-Chinesen 92% der gesamten Bevölkerung ausmachen. Die anderen 55 ethnischen Minderheiten, zu denen zum Beispiel Mongolen, Hui, Tibeter, Uiguren, Miao, Yi, Zhuang, Bouyei, Koreaner, Mandschuren, Dong und Yao zählen, haben vergleichsweise wenigere Angehörige.

China blickt auf eine Geschichte von 5.000 Jahren zurück und ist Heimat einer der ältesten Zivilisationen der Welt. Die lange Geschichte hat nicht nur die kulturelle Vielfalt geschafft, sondern auch zahlreiche historische Relikte hinterlassen. Chinesisch ist die in ganz China verwendete Sprache und auch eine der sechs von der UNO bestimmten Amtssprachen.

China ist ein faszinierendes Reiseziel und hält für den Besucher viele Überraschungen bereit, da China nicht nur aus Peking und Shanghai besteht und keineswegs nur die Chinesische Mauer oder die Verbotene Stadt zu bieten hat. Jeder der 22 Provinzen, 5 autonomen Gebieten, 4 regierungsunmittelbaren Städten und die Sonderverwaltungsgebiete Hongkong und Macao bieten gänzlich unterschiedliche Eindrücke und Erfahrungen bei Reisen nach China.

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Sonnenaufgang und Sonnenuntergang am 24.05.2018 in:

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Aphorismus des Tages:


Alle Raben unter dem Himmel sind schwarz.



Protect Tibetan Antelope

A Brief Introduction to the Tibetan Antelope's Plight.

Random photo: Impressions of China

Excerpted from a letter from FON founder Liang Congjie to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, on tbe occasion of the latter's visit to China last October, appealing for Britain's help in stopping the trade shahtoosh.

The Tibetan antelope is found almost exclusively in western China, living at height of over 4,500 meters. In 1979, it was included on the list of species for which trade is strictly forbidden under CITES, but despite this international ban,shahtoosh (the name given to the fur taken from the neck of the Tibetan antelope) became very fashionable in the mid-1980s, and the international market has thrived since. Shahtoosh can now be bought in markets in a number of European and other countries, all of which are signatories to CITES. In London ih 1996, a shahtoosh shawl could fetch up to ¡ê3,500. And prices such as these in European markets have of course escalated prices of the fur imported illegally from China for processing in India.

Traders have spread the myth that the fur is shed naturally with the changing seasons, and collected by local herdsmen. But this simply is not true. The reality is that all the fur is taken from the bodies of Tibetan antelopes poached in China, with each animal yielding a mere 125-150 grams. Over the last few years, the Chinese authorities have caught nearly 100 groups of poachers and confiscated thousands of Tibetan antelope hides. One policeman was killed in the process. In 1997, the Tibet Forestry Bureau intercepted over 1,000 kilograms of shahtoosh destined for export. Given the vast area of land involved, this can only represent a small proportion of the total.

Because of the poaching, the numbers of Tibetan antelope are falling drastically. It is estimated that there are now no more than 75,000-100,000 left alive - just one-tenth of the number a century ago. Estimates of the amount of shahtoosh processed in India suggest that more than 20,000 antelopes are killed each year for their fur. If poaching continues on this scale, there is a risk that the Tibetan antelope will be extinct within 20 years.

Many Successes - but Much More Still Needs to be Done

"The Wild Yak Brigade is the only armed patrol team that regularly patrols Kekexili. Without this brigade, the Tibetan antelope would have no protection whatsoever. The poachers had also heard of Zhawa Dorje's death, and thought this was great opportunity for them. We heard that 30 poachers were making preparations to go into Kekexili on an extensive poaching expedition shortly after Zhawa Dorje's death. The Wild Yak Brigade was determined that the patrols could not stop. But they were faced with many difficulties, not the least of which was that there was no funding. Every time they go on patrol, they require 200,000 yuan or US$24,400 just to pay for gasoline. At that time, they didn't even have money to buy the gas. That's when the Beijing office of the International Fund for Animal Welfare donated $10,000, which the Brigade used as emergency patrol funds. But we know that such funding is only a temporary solution. At the end of the year, a longtime friend and warm-hearted supporter of FON came to us and said he'd raised a sum of money that he wanted to donate to buy two vehicles as well as a supply of spare parts for the Wild Yak Brigade.(The wilds of Kekexili are hard on the vehicles, and many repairs are necessary after each patrol)

"In January, we started the process of buying two top-of-the-line Beiing army jeeps, which were the only vehicles we could afford. An imported off-road jeep was out of our budget.We even got permission to have it outfitted as a Public Security vehicle, complete with flashing red lights. Public Security officials said this was the first time ever in the 50 years of the People's Republic of China that ordinary citizens had ever raised money and bought vehicles for Public Security use. When the Wild Yak Brigade took delivery of the jeeps, they wept: they had never had such new vehicles. In the past, the vehicles they used were old ones that other government offices no longer wanted or were confiscated from the poachers. Not long after the arrival of the jeeps, the Brigade went on patrol in their new vehicles.

"At the time, as the head of FON, I thought about what more we could do. I felt that as a volunteer group, we had done all that we could. Anything more would only be in the form of providing some more funding. But giving more money would not help resolve one of the basic problems facing the protection of the Tibetan antelope: the need to increase and improve government cooperation. The Tibetan antelopes' range is a desolate no-man's land at the juncture of three provinces and autonomous regions: Tibet, Qinghai and Xinjiang. Of course, the antelope has no concept of borders. But from a government administration point of view, a local government has no authority in a neighboring area; which is to say, Qnghai's Public Security can't go into Xinjiang to arrest criminals and vice versa. But the poachers going after the Tibetan antelopes are breaking the law in all three provinces and regions, and when the Qinghai police are on their tail and they cross into Xinjiang, the Qinghai authorities cannot follow.For the three provincial/regional govrnments to resolve this dilemma and coordinate their activities is very difficult - it has to come from the central government in Beijing. So I wrote a report about the Tibetan antelope situation to the National Environmental Protection Agency and the Forestry Ministry. In it, I included some of FON's, insights and suggestions, the most important of which was the need for the central government to coordinate and substantially expand the anti-poaching efforts of the three provinces and regions, including providing more funds, weapons and manpower and giving them more authority. Most important is a simultaneous crackdown by all three provinces and regions so that the poachers have no place to escape to.

"As a result of this report, a secret, largescale anti-poaching effort by the three provinces/regions began on April 10 and concluded at the end of the month. This was the largest ever coordinated police action to protect wildlife in China in 50 years. It resulted in the arrest of more than a dozen groups of poachers, confiscation of 500 to 600 Tibetan antelope skins, and was a big psychological blow to the poachers, who were taken by surprise. There were several occasions of serious exchanges of gunfire, particularly in Xinjiang.

"In May the Wild Yak Brigade told us that in the past sit months, they also had confiscated about 400 skins. One of the conditions of our gift of the jeeps was that all confiscated skins had to be destroyed. We insisted on this because we knew that if the skins were not destroyed and somehow were still making their way to the international market, there would be no way to put an end to the trade. If that happened, our efforts would have been for naught. So they invited us to Qinghai to attend a ceremony to torch the skins. I, my wife Fang Jing, the FON office manager Zhang Jilian and an FON member who had been most involved in procuring and preparing the jeeps for the Wild Yak Brigade made the trip accompanied by reporters from Beijing Radio, Beijing TV ,Beijing Youth News and Beijing Green News and other local news organizations.

"We had opportunity to visit the Wild Yak Brigade at their patrol station and to See for ourselves the extremely harsh and difficult conditions under which they live and work. Almost all are Tibetans, two are from the Du minority group - only the Brigade leader is Han Chinese. Most are in their 20s, although a few veterans are in their 30s or 40s. Among them are Tibet's fierce fighting men, the Kampas. I was astonished when Brigade members, including these proud Kampas, broke into tears during our visit. They told us that since the death of Zhawa Dorje, they felt that only FON and IFAW remembered them and supported them, and therefore they thought of us as family.

"On May 23, we drove to the edge of Kekexili, to the Sonam Dorje Nature Protection Station, at a height of more than 4,800 meters. We piled the skins in a huge pile and doused them with gasoline. I, IFAW's Beijing representative Grace Ge Gabriel and the head of the Wild Yak Brigade - each wielding a fire torch - together lit the pile and watched the skins go up in smoke. The skins would have been worth 200,000 to 300,000 yuan for the raw unprocessed fur. I learned that just one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of the unprocessed fiber from the Tibetan antelope skin would fetch 70,000 yuan or about $8,750 on the black market at the border of Tibet and India. So you can See how high the profit margin is.

"On June 20, we got a call from Yunnan province, from FON member Xi Zhinong, the well-known nature photographer. He told us that a large number of poachers had on the previous day gone into a remote, mountainous area Xinjiang where the Tibetan antelope does gather to give birth. A scientific research group chanced upon the poachers and found more than 800 freshly killed and skinned Tibetan antelope carcasses. The 30 heavily armed poachers, seeing that there were only a dozen people in the research team and that they had only one gun, attacked the team, and the two sides exchanged fire for six hours. The research team called for help on their radio back to their base station in a very remote country in Xinjiang. Xi had formerly been a part of this research team, so the base station called him in Yunnan and asked him to try to get help and attention from the rest of the country. I called the Public Security Ministry to report the crime even as the gun battle was still going on. I also called a Xinjiang FON supporter and asked him to go to the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau's headquarters in the capital of Urumqi to alert them to this case. I discovered that both Public Security offices responded very quickly: within two hours, they called back to ask for more details and the exact position of the research team. Xinjiang authorities immediately prepared to send police to investigate, but from the research base station to the site of the gun battle was a 600-kilometer (360- mile) distance that would take three days to traverse. When the police arrived, the poachers surrendered, but by then they had already shipped out the 800 Tibetan antelope skins. This shows that the problem of poaching is far from resolved. This event happened so soon after the conclusion of the Tibet-Qnghai-Xinjiang crackdown in Kekexili. Perhaps because the poachers know that the Wild Yak Brigade patrols in Kekekili, so they didn't dare carry out their activities in that area. But in this part of Xinjiang, they dared to act in such a brazen way because there is no regular anti-poaching action there. So in the effort to protect the Tibetan antelope, we cannot focus all our attention on the area of Kekexili.

"In early August, the Wild Yak Brigade went on a two-week patrol of Kekexili which resulted in the capture of 14 poachers and confiscation of 1,061 Tibetan antelope skins. Unfortunately, six poachers managed to escape as the group made its way out of Kekexili. A CCTV documentary film crew accompanied the anti-poaching squad and aired a 20-minute report in late August. It was only after watching the documentary that I realized how difficult it is to keep the poachers in custody after capturing them. It takes days to get out of Kekexili, and they are surrounded by wasteland on all sides. It's impossible to keep the poachers tied up all the time - you have to let them go to eat, sleep and go to the bathroom. Also, when the cars break down or get stuck in the mud, everyone has to help. At such times, it's easy for some poachers to run off. Furthermore, by then, the anti-poaching squad had not eaten in three days and didn't have the strength to go after them.

"After CCTV aired this documentary, they got calls from all over the country supporting the efforts of the Wild Yak Brigade. But the Brigade itself faces a very uncertain future. In early August, the Qinghai provincial government announced plans to disband the antipoaching squad. The govrnment has said it wants to replace it with an "official" anti-poaching team. We are very much opposed to this because the more "official" the oganization the more likely it is to be bogged down by bureaucracy. Such an organization would lose the flexibility and the spontaneity it must have to be effective in anti-poaching. Even if that were not a problem, it would still take a year to 18 months to reestablish a new "official" anti-poaching squad that is trained and experienced enough to be effective. In the meantime, the poachers could very well kill off the entire population of Tibetan antelopes. We feel the best option is to give more support to the Wild Yak Brigade and at the same time to slowly make it more "offical." Obviously, there are some people who stand to benefit greatly from disbanding the Wild Yak Brigade and to take over its activities. But we believe that their concern for wildlife doesn't begin to measure up to that of the Wild Yak Brigade. If the Wild Yak Brigade is in fact disbanded, then all our efforts on their behalf would have been for naught. And, we cannot be optimistic about the future of the Tibetan antelope in that event.

"But in the end, so long as the international market for shahtoosh exists, it is impossible for us to put a complete stop to Tibetan antelope poaching. We desperately need international support and cooperation. The reason the Tibetan antelope is facing extinction is because people in other countries want to wear these shahtoosh scarves around their necks. But the price of these scarves is the extinction of an animal species. We appeal to the international community to work with us to save the Tibetan antelope. The slaughter of this animal is happening because a few people want to be fashionable. We must all work together to put an end to this."

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