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Shooting star explosion over Yunnan leads to meteorite market frenzy

Updated:2017-11-02 10:53:02   Global Times

The recent explosion of a shooting star over South China's Yunnan Province has thrown the already disorderly meteorite trading market into chaos, a situation experts said is caused by legal loopholes.

Many "meteorite-hunters" from across the country came to the region after three meteors exploded over Diqing, Southwest China's Yunnan Province on October 4, the Legal Daily reported.

After learning of the event, some traders began selling local meteorites online at hugely inflated prices. These online stores have now been closed, the report said.

Meteorites are a very rare natural resource with huge economic benefits, and as the number of investors increases, prices rise every year. Many people come to see or even steal them, leading to the destruction of some large meteorites.

China has become the world's third-largest source of meteorites after Japan and the U.S., media reported. However, related laws in China are still lagging, leading to a disorderly trading market and the loss of some meteorites.

"Based on the definition of mineral resources in the related law, it is imperative to define meteorites as a special mineral resource," Yang Lixin, a leading jurist in civil law with Renmin University of China, told the Legal Daily. "Mineral resources are natural resources, so they should belong to the country."

Yang believes that since meteorites are a mineral product, the Rules for Implementation of the Mineral Resources Law should clearly be used to regulate their trade. Meanwhile, Yang suggested that the related departments should compensate people who discover meteorites in order to better gather and protect these resources.

Editor: Eric Wang

Keywords:   Yunnan meteorite