By Venus Wu and Clare Baldwin DONGGUAN/HONG KONG (Reuters) – China crushed 6.2 metric tonnes (6.83 tons) of confiscated ivory on Monday in the first such public destruction of any part of its stockpile, after the country's fitful enforcement efforts led experts to question its commitment to stamping out smuggling. Animal rights groups say China's growing appetite for the contraband material has fuelled a surge in poaching in Africa. "China is sending a very powerful message both domestically, to the Chinese people, and internationally, that it is not prepared to tolerate the illegal trade in elephant ivory," said CITES Secretary General John Scanlon. The function, held on the outskirts of a southern industrial city, featured elephant tusks placed in the shape of a flower on an outdoor stage, surrounded by ivory statues of the Buddha.
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