As feared, despite the positive news headlines, China is still promoting the use of pangolin scales in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Pangolins have been removed from the list of key ingredients in the 2020 pharmacopeia of medicines, but can still be found as an ingredient in eight formulae.
This follows similar positive reports of China banning the sale and consumption of dog meat, which also turned out to be only partially true.
After SARS China put in place strict measures on the sale and consumption of 54 species of wild animals, including civets, which were demonstrated to have acted as a vector for the virus. Inexplicably, these measures were relaxed after only four months.
COVID-19 has had a global impact several orders of magnitude greater than SARS, and the link to the trade in wildlife in general and pangolins in particular is clear. China must now demonstrate to the world that they are serious about conservation, serious about public health, and serious about animal welfare.
Credit to the Environmental Investigation Agency for this important research.