FORMER hunter and Hong Kong affairs adviser David Chu Yu-lin is to build a bear sanctuary on his farm in southern China to rescue the animals trapped in cruel bear-bile farms. Mr Chu, who earlier this year went on a bear hunt in Canada and has also hunted and shot deer in the United States, said he had given up his ''hunting career'' because of pressure from his animal-loving children. ''I won the right to hunt grizzly bears in Canada in a ballot, but I didn't find any. It was an organised hunt, run by the Canadian Government, licensed and supervised,'' he said. ''They have to do it to reduce their numbers, because the population can't sustain itself and comes into inhabited areas, putting the public at risk.'' ''But actually, my children made me promise to end my hunting career, so I have done so.'' Mr Chu offered to build the sanctuary after the Sunday Morning Post exposed the plight of bears in China, which are kept immobile in cramped cages, with a drip siphoning bile from their gall bladders. And he has also taken up the issue with the State Council, writing to ask the Chinese Government to assign a special ministry to handle and be responsible for matters relating to animal cruelty. The space at his 40-hectare farm near Guangzhou - and cash to build the sanctuary - will be given to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which is campaigning for the closure of China's bear farms. IFAW representative in Hong Kong Jill Robinson, who returned last week from another undercover bear farm investigation, described Mr Chu's offer as ''a terrific start''. ''It's what we have been wanting for a long time. Very often, the best people are the ones who have turned their ideas around. They turn out to be the animal's best friend,'' she said. Mr Chu said: ''If my space can help, I am glad to give it, and give some money to build the necessary facilities to make the bears' life better. ''There are people in Hong Kong and on the mainland who do care about them.'' The bear sanctuary's success relies on the Chinese Government's co-operation to close the many bear farms, but Mr Chu said he was confident they would receive a positive response from Beijing. But Ms Robinson had good and bad news after her mainland trip, where she tried to visit the second largest bear farm, which has 700 animals in captivity. ''The farm in Sichuan had been renamed a 'scientific research centre' and we were refused access. The farm owner told us that, in recent months, the Beijing Central Government had stipulated no one be allowed access without its permission. ''At the same time, the Zhuhai bear farm we exposed is on the verge of collapse because of bad publicity. ''We understand it did not have a government licence, so it may be being made an example.'' She hoped international pressure would encourage the government to close down all bear farms. ''We could take the bears from farms to the sanctuary, where they could be rehabilitated and possibly released into the wild,'' she said. ''We would compensate the farmers for the animals, and we will be seeking expert opinions on looking after the bears.'' Mr Chu said that in addition to providing a new home for the maltreated bears, the sanctuary could create jobs and become an educational resource for the community.