HANGZHOU, Nov.10 (Xinhua) -- For some Chinese, fur
jackets, coats and hats are a way to show off wealth and success. For
others, though, fur products represent nothing more than animal cruelty and
"Chinese consumption of fur products is
surging," said Ren Youfa, the vice chairman of the Chinese Leather
According to Ren, three to four fur products are owned
among every 100 Chinese people.
Chinese consumers have purchased 1.5
million fur products this year, about two-thirds of global production.
The CLA recently said people are increasingly concerned about the
inhumane killing of animals and the environmentally-damaging chemicals used
to produce fur products.
Ren estimates that no less than 400 million
Chinese people have the economic resources to consume fur products, pointing
out the large potential of the Chinese fur products market.
Nielsen, the managing director of Kopenhagen Fur, the world's leading fur
skin auction house, said the Chinese fur trade accounts for more than half
of the world total.
Fur products were popular at the ongoing 17th
China Leather Exhibition, held from July to November this year, in Haining City of east
China's Zhejiang Province, where a large leather business center is located.
Haining Leather City, a business center, has recently set up new
branches in Heze City of east China's Shandong Province and Tong'erbao
economic zone in northeast China's Liaoning Province.
It is not the
only entity taking an interest in Tong'erbao. Businesses from Hong Kong, Guangdong and Shanghai
have invested more than 4 billion yuan (597 million U.S. dollars) in
Tong'erbao's fur industry.
"Fur clothing, as a symbol of fashion and
status, is very popular among consumers in northeast China," said Duan
Yanling, an local official in Tong'erbao.
Ren, who is also chairman
of the board of Haining Leather City, said the sluggish export market helped
to promote the rapid development of China's domestic fur market.
"Many western countries resist buying fur out of consideration for
protection of animals and environment, which has hindered the development of
the export market," Ren said.
In some nations, fur clothing fashion shows are
always accompanied by protests from animal rights groups.
However, more and
more Chinese in recent years have joined the fight against fur consumption,
believing that killing animals for their skins is cruel and that chemicals
used to cure the furs harm the environment.
The Design Against Fur
(DAF) competition, an international art and design competition focusing on
works by college students that aims to reduce the number of potential buyers
of fur, has attracted millions of entries from Chinese students over the
past four years.
In this year's round of the DAF competition in China in
September, Chinese college students provided more than 12,000 works to
demonstrate their opposition to buying fur products.
"We cannot stop
rich people buying fur, but I hope we can at least change the minds of
university students, who are potential buyers, from doing this in the
future," said Zhang, DAF's Chinese regional director.
Animals killed for fashion
include rabbits, foxes, cats and dogs. The rabbit is the theme of this
year's competition. "To make one fur coat, people have to kill 30 to 40
rabbits," Zhang said.
Zhang Qian, a 20-year-old student with the Shanghai
Film Art Academy, won the Most Popular award for her work titled "Please,
don't take off my clothes," which depicts a bunny begging not to be skinned.
Zhang admitted that she once bought a fur coat because it was warm. "But
now if I spot someone wearing a fur coat or shawl, I will tell them 'Hey,
that's not cool. You're killing animals.'"
Zhang Yang suggested using
artificial fur to spare animals from cruelty.
Considering the pollution problems
caused by curing skins, many leather companies are now using natural
ingredients that can be easily broken down by the environment, according to
Ying Wenjun, head of a clothing company in Haining.
consumers will look at fur goods from an environmental perspective," Ren said. "On the
other hand,China's fur business should realize restructuring through keeping
a balance between environmental protection and fashion demands."
Editor: Deng Shasha