BEIJING, February 24, Xinhua -- China's top legislature on Monday decided to impose a full ban on illegal wildlife trade and postpone its annual session amid the fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
Workers catch a giant salamander which is still alive outside the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan city, Hubei province, Jan 27, 2020. [Photo by Yuan Zheng/chinadaily.com.cn]
The decision to thoroughly ban illegal wildlife trade and eliminate the bad habits of eating wild animals was adopted at Monday's bimonthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee.
At the one-day session, lawmakers also passed a decision to postpone the third annual session of the 13th NPC, originally scheduled to open on March 5.
Li Zhanshu, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, presided over a meeting of the Council of Chairpersons of the legislature and the closing meeting of the session.
Speaking after the decisions were adopted, Li said since the outbreak of the COVID-19, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core has led the national fight against the epidemic. At present, the positive trend of containing the outbreak is expanding.
Li said the decision to impose a full ban on illegal wildlife trade was made to implement instructions of Xi, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, and the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee.
Li urged rigorous implementation of the decision to safeguard people's lives and health, adding that the decision has responded to the major concerns of society and provided a legal guarantee for safeguarding the security of the public and ecology. It also helps improve the country's image, he added.
The decision to postpone this year's NPC annual session was made after careful evaluation, Li stressed.
Many of the NPC deputies, including officials, medical workers, researchers, workers, farmers and members of the armed forces, are now fighting the virus at the front line, Li said, noting that postponing the annual legislative session will allow efforts to be concentrated on containing the epidemic.
Li asked the NPC Standing Committee to improve the legal system for epidemic prevention and control, foster rule-of-law awareness in society, and facilitate achieving the goals and tasks of economic and social development of the year.