Hardworking team-player, all-around swell guy, and chronic injury victim Yao Ming has been campaigning for a while against the indefensible Chinese tradition of exterminating the world's sharks by finning the creatures and throwing them back into the ocean to die slowly so nouveau riche assholes can slurp broth at a wedding (often before eating more fish caught after dynamiting a coral reef). Good for him.

It appears that Yao, his WildAid campaign and other advocates are actually making inroads. In a recent seemingly in-depth survey of Hong Kong resident, 78 percent of them said it was "acceptable" to leave shark fin soup off the menu. The WildAid people detect a change on the mainland as well. From the New York Times a few days ago:

Encouragingly, attitudes also appear to be shifting in the vastly bigger mainland market, according to Peter Knights, executive director at WildAid. For the past few years, the organization has been running anti-shark-finning campaigns on the mainland featuring Yao Ming, the Shanghai-born National Basketball Association star, among others. It also plans to run a national awareness week, in conjunction with the Chinese Fisheries Ministry, in June.

"The fact that we're allowed to do all this campaigning, and with the aid of state media, is a clear sign that the authorities are condoning the message," Mr. Knights said by phone from San Francisco.

In another sign that the topic is getting top-level attention, a deputy of the National People's Congress in Beijing, Ding Liguo, filed a proposal last month to ban trade in shark fins, according to a report from Xinhua, the state-run news agency.


Then again, one only has to walk a block from the office here to find a restaurant with six types of shark fin soup on the menu.

Attitudes Shifting on Shark Fin Soup [The New York Times]