The continuing holdup is public opposition to hunting in China, which is odd in a country not known for responding to public outcry. To counter the opposition to hunting, the four state-sanctioned hunt organizers, the Forestry Administration and various international hunting-related NGO's (including FNAWS, GSC/OVIS and ISHA) are engaged in various educational and lobbying efforts. While some progress has reportedly been made, there has not yet been a definitive breakthrough.
A number of issues and factions have complicated the situation in China. For one thing, most Chinese did not know that foreign hunters were coming to China to hunt the country's unique species. Many now question why foreigners are allowed to do this when the Chinese themselves are not allowed to hunt or to own firearms. We understand there is now a faction lobbying for local hunting rights. Another faction is against all hunting. More important, though, is a general misunderstanding as to how rich western hunters are contributing to wildlife conservation by killing animals.
The upside is, the Chinese media and public are hungry for information on conservation and are willing to hear how hunting has played a vital role in wildlife conservation around the world. Sources we spoke with were hopeful that scheduled interviews with Richard Harris, a zoologist from Montana University who has studied argali and wildlife in China for 13 years, and Lit Ng, the Chinese-American philanthropist and conservationist responsible for the panda program at University of Beijing and for opening international trophy hunting in China in 1984, will help resolve public anxieties and move government officials to open the season. Ng is well known........(continued)