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Social media, live-stream site used for illegal trade of wild birds

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After several illegal online traders of wild animals were busted in China, experts stressed that social media platforms should take more responsibility to avoid being used by lawbreakers for such misconduct.

The Forestry Public Security Bureau in Southwest China's Yunnan Province recently detained three suspects alleged to have illegally sold wild birds via WeChat and Kuaishou, an online short video platform, saving 401 birds valued at more than 380,000 yuan ($57,100), the Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

Separately, in a two-month campaign against the hunting and trading of wild birds in Harbin, Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, two people were arrested and 12 were fined.

Police in Pucheng, East China's Fujian Province also arrested three suspects for illegally hunting 376 wild birds.

In the Yunnan case, suspects initially released displays of the wild birds during live streaming on Kuaishou, then communicated with buyers on WeChat to complete the trade, Xinhua said.

Many streamers on Kuaishou have been arrested for hunting, killing or selling several species of wild animals, some of which are under State protection, according to media reports.

The supervision of authorities has to reach every branch of the wild animal industry, not only on online trading platforms, but also through communication channels such as the WeChat platform, Zhu Wei, a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times.

Kuaishou announced on Sina Weibo in April that it had permanently banned several accounts of streamers that violated laws and regulations. The platform said it would strengthen efforts to supervise and continue to close such accounts.

Such platforms should also take a proactive role in assisting police in investigations, such as offering information in accordance with the law, said Zhu.



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