Liu Fenghai has made his fortune in the ivory trade. There was a time when he had 25 craftsmen working exclusively on elephant ivory at his factory in the northern city of Harbin. He would buy the raw ivory and then have it turned into the pendants, paperweights and statues that once filled shelf after shelf in his shop, as well as the much larger, elaborately carved whole tusks proudly displayed on plinths of their own.
At the height of the market some of them could sell for many thousands of dollars. Now, to the delight of conservationists everywhere, China is calling a halt to this lucrative end of a brutal and bloody trade.
But Mr Liu, as you might expect, is far from happy. “I feel sad,” the 48-year-old said. “I don’t feel good at all. This tradition has been carried on for thousands of years but now it will die in the hands of our generation.” “I feel like a sinner,” he added. “In a few hundred years time, we will be seen as the sinners of history.”