By Danny Lee
Dozens of people are expected to picket the Hong Kong Museum of Art today in protest at an exhibition featuring artefacts dating to the Qing and Ming dynasties made with rhinoceros and elephant ivory.
A coalition of conservation groups wants the items removed from the exhibit. Protest organiser Rosana Ng Mei-fung, coordinator of the Hong Kong Humane Education Coalition, said the government was sending "conflicting and confusing messages" on conservation.
"The government is not coordinating its message because the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department is burning ivory and promoting the message of protecting endangered species while the Leisure and Cultural Services Department [LCSD\ is showing rhino horns as art," she said.
Among the 270 items on display from the C.P. Lin Collection are two 20cm elephant ivory carvings and more than a dozen rhino horn cups.
Ng said the group feared the exhibit would promote ivory as a symbol of wealth, encouraging more people to buy it. Last week, the museum met campaigners from the charity Hong Kong for Elephants and agreed to distribute educational material.
"The Museum and the collector Mr C. P. Lin unreservedly support safeguarding the dwindling populations of African elephants and rhinoceroses in the wild and combating illegal poaching and trading," an LCSD spokeswoman said. "The Hong Kong Museum of Art displays these antiquities to celebrate and educate the public about the treasures of our past."