CHINA: Scientists call for fossil regulation revision

Reseachers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Peking University, Nanjing University and the China University of Geosciences are petitioning for exemption from a draft regulation aimed at curbing fossil smuggling, the official Xinhua news agency reports. While accepting the need to stamp out illegal fossil smuggling, the scientists want more freedom to excavate fossil sites and carry out research cooperation with overseas partners.

Any fossil regulation should be designed to promote scientific research and public scientific awareness, said Zhou Zhonghe, executive director of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The Ministry of Land Resources, together with the State Council Legislative Affairs Office, drafted the new regulation and in March invited public comments and suggestions via the internet. China became one of the world's paleontological research centres after Pei Wenzhou and Jia Lanpo successively found broken and complete fossilized skulls of Peking Man in the 1920s and the 1930s.
Full report on the Xinhaunet site