Influencer who bought and ate great white shark fined $18,500 in China

Flood blogger known as Tizi broke the country's wildlife protection laws, officials say

An influencer in China known as Tizi cooked and ate a great white shark. She posted a video on social network Douyin where she has 7.8 million followers.
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An influencer in China was fined 125,000 yuan ($18,500) by authorities after she posted a video showing her illegally buying and eating a great white shark, a clip that prompted an online backlash.

Police in Nanchong, Sichuan, launched an investigation in August after the woman, named only as Jin, posted a video in July on social network Douyin, where she has 7.8 million followers.

She broke China’s wildlife protection laws when she purchased the carnivorous fish in April last year and later consumed it, officials said at the weekend.

Jin, who goes by the name Tizi in her videos, paid 7,700 yuan on Alibaba Group Holding’s Taobao shopping site for the shark, which the International Union for Conservation of Nature has classified as a vulnerable species whose population has declined sharply.

In July 2022, the woman posted videos showing her picking up the roughly 2m fish from a shop, posing with it, cooking and eating it. The clip went viral in China, with many people complaining about cruelty to animals.

DNA tests from tissue remnants confirmed it was a white shark, which is protected under Chinese law. Two other people involved in catching and selling the shark were also arrested.

China imposed a total ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals in February 2020 to curb activities that scientists say may have caused the deadly coronavirus to jump from animals to humans.

The country officially clamped down on shark fin soup a decade ago, but consuming certain exotic, wild animals or their parts remains popular due to often unproven claims they provide health benefits.

The nation revised its wildlife protection laws recently to increase penalties for poaching, and banned practices such as hunting and consuming most wildlife from May.

Still, some wildlife campaigners say the effort does not go far enough to outlaw activities such as captive breeding.

Updated: January 30, 2023, 11:56 AM