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Wildlife Trade Specialists

Published 15th July 2020

  Chinese 

Countering illegal plant trade: TRAFFIC hosts virtual training for staff of internet giant Douyin.com

Online, China, 15th July 2020—TRAFFIC and Douyin.com co-hosted a virtual training event on “Combating illegal wildlife trade online—wild flora” for more than 230 staff from the company’s risk and security management department last week. TRAFFIC, alongside experts from the China Wild Plant Conservation Association (CWPCA) and Nanjing Forest Police College (NFPC), spoke about wild plant trade in China and worldwide and relevant conservation policy, legislation and enforcement efforts.


Douyin.com is regarded as the mainland China equivalent of video social media platform TikTok, and also carries advertising and is used for commerce, sometimes by those abusing its services. For example, several videos were recently posted promoting the sale of wild-harvested orchids from their natural habitats, much to the alarm of policy makers, conservation practitioners, and netizens with certain legal and conservational awareness. 

Responding rapidly, TRAFFIC helped Douyin.com organise a virtual training workshop for staff from the company’s risk and security management department to learn about wild plant conservation during the COVID-19 pandemic era.

A number of wild plant species are being promoted in treatments for the disease, but excessive demand could lead to significant over-harvesting if not properly managed

Speakers included the NFPC’s Prof. Nan Chenghui, who spoke about relevant national and international legislation protecting wild plants and Ms Li Yue, Division Director of International Cooperation, CWPCA, who spoke about relevant regulations and policies, particularly with regards to the List of National Key Protected Wild Plants of P.R. China (Second Amendment). The draft species of plants to be included within the List was opened for consultation on the same day as the training.

“Adapting to COVID-19 social distancing measures, Chinese nationals are increasingly active in the digital world, with online trade commoner than ever,” said Ling Xu, Director of TRAFFIC’s China office. 

Today’s virtual training helped promote communication between the online platform operator and other stakeholders, and enhanced the capability of frontline company staff to identify relevant plant species and know the correct channels to report any suspicious online activities

Ling Xu, Director of TRAFFIC’s China office. 

As a platform operator, Douyin.com has a responsibility to support efforts to end wildlife trafficking online and help build a green online marketplace, which TRAFFIC is pleased fully to support and hopes to offer similar assistance to other online platforms. 

TRAFFIC, alongside IFAW and WWF work in partnership with more than 30 tech companies in joint efforts to close down online wildlife crime through the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online.

“Douyin.com is invited to join the Coalition’s combined efforts to help curtail wildlife trafficking worldwide, and TRAFFIC would be pleased to support their endeavours,” said Ling Xu.