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Harsh Sentencing of Two Circus Owners Sparks Controversy

By Li Rongde
Trained tigers perform on World Animal Day in the Nanjing Pearl Spring Wildlife Park in October 2012. Two owners of a circus troupe were each sentenced in Shenyang to 10 years in prison recently for transporting endangered species. Photo: Visual China
Trained tigers perform on World Animal Day in the Nanjing Pearl Spring Wildlife Park in October 2012. Two owners of a circus troupe were each sentenced in Shenyang to 10 years in prison recently for transporting endangered species. Photo: Visual China

(Beijing) — Two circus-troupe owners have been imprisoned by a Shenyang court for up to 10 years for illegally transporting several animals considered “protected species” — a ruling that critics say is too harsh because the court has handed down the same punishment to poachers.

Li Rongqing and his cousin Li Ruisheng, who owned the troupe based in the northern city of Cangzhou, were sentenced to eight years and 10 years respectively for ferrying animals for performances in Hebei and Liaoning provinces from May to July without a transport license.

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