Tuesday, April 16, 2013

1995-12-18 "Chinese environmentalist campaigning to change centuries-old tradition"

December 18, 1995, Mon.
Chinatown News
by Wendy Chow

Chinese environmentalist campaigning to change centuries-old tradition

Longtime environmentalist Anthony Marr is on a crusade with a dual goal. He hopes to put an end to the slaughter of endangered or threatened animals used in the preparation of Oriental medicine. By doing so, the Hong Kong raised Marr, 51, says he hopes to elevate the reputation of his fellow Chinese.
“Some people who call in to the Chinese radio talk shows say that I want to discredit Chinese culture. Quite on the contrary. We’ve been acquiring a bad reputation for years even though some Chinese people may not know it. When you get down to the root cause of poaching, it’s the demand by Chinese, Japanese and Korean people for the parts,” says Marr.

“When I was a kid I benefited a great deal from Chinese traditional medicine given to me by my grannies and my mom. I have a lot of reverence for Chinese medicine. But I do want to rid it of environmentally unsound and superstition-based ingredients.”

“I also want to act as a spokesperson to the Western community as a Chinese person,” says Marr. “In doing so, I show by deed that some Chinese people are willing to stand up and correct the wrongs in their native culture.” . . .

“The main consumers of these products at this point are the so called Little Dragons like South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore. the Great Dragon, China, has not yet fully awakened as a consuming force. But in a decade or so, when a wealthy middle class arises, the demand from China will skyrocket, and poaching will reach astronomical proportions. If you think what’s happening right now is bad, wait and see. There is not much time to waste.” . . .

Perhaps because Marr is a Chinese person willing to speak out against what is a predominantly Chinese-caused problem, he has had plenty of media attention. He has brought local and national television cameras right into Chinatown, and been interviewed by newspapers and radio talk shows in both languages.

The public reaction to Marr’s campaign? One Maple Grove school teacher said, “I may not have been conscious of it, but for years I have been waiting for someone like Anthony to step forward.”

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