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This scene has never happened before in public. China crushing a part of its ivory stockpile. It wants to discourage the illegal trade in African elephant ivory -- and shed its image as a global hub for that trade. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) YANG LIUYING, RESEARCHER AT THE CHINESE CUSTOMS ANTI-SMUGGLING TEAM, SAYING: "We do not deny the fact that in recent years, there is an increasing trend of ivory being smuggled to China. We have to strengthen our efforts in this area." Demand for ivory is soaring among China's emerging affluent class. And with it, the illegal slaughter of African elephants for their tusks. Some wildlife groups say over 90 percent of the ivory for sale in China is illegally sourced. Representatives of wildlife trade watchdog groups say this landmark ceremony can't be underestimated. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES OF WILD FAUNA AND FLORA (CITES),