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What is China's panda diplomacy? | Explain

What is China's panda diplomacy?  |  Explain


File photo: Pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing move around their enclosure at the National Zoo in Washington during one of the days they spent together, May 6, 1975.

File photo: Pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing move around their enclosure at the National Zoo in Washington during one of the days they spent together, May 6, 1975. | Photo credit: AP Photo

The story so far: China may renew its panda diplomacy project as it plans to lend the San Diego Zoo a pair of giant pandas, The Associated Press reported Thursday. The China Wildlife Conservation Authority has signed cooperation agreements with San Diego and Madrid, Spain, and is also in talks with zoos in Washington DC and Vienna, Austria, the report added, citing the Chinese news agency Xinhua.

If the permits are approved, the pandas could arrive at the San Diego Zoo by the end of summer, zoo officials said. P.A..

What is panda diplomacy?

Giant pandas are native to central China, particularly the Yangtze River basin. The Chinese government gifts or lends these endemic pandas to other countries as a symbol of friendship or soft diplomacy, leading to the term “panda diplomacy”.

How did panda diplomacy become popular?

Although panda diplomacy primarily took off in the mid-to-late 20th century, some experts believe that a version of it already existed during the Tang dynasty which ruled between the 7th and 10th centuries. Records of the dynasty suggest that she presented two bears (believed to be pandas at the time) to the Japanese court during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian. The Guardian reported.

There are many accounts of China having made or donating pandas to countries like the United States, United Kingdom, France and Japan, but 1972 is often thought to be the beginning of modern panda diplomacy when , during the reign of Mao Zedong, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai gave gifts to pandas. giant pandas in America after US President Richard Nixons state visit. According to the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC, which is also home to the two giant pandas, the pair Ling-Ling (a female) and Hsing-Hsing (a male) arrived on April 16, 1972.

China stopped giving away pandas in the early 1980s and began lending them out to the tune of about $1 million a year. Conditions for lending pandas may also include other requirements, such as building facilities for their care and agreements for the return of their offspring to China.

More than just soft diplomacy?

In 2013, the University of Oxford conducted a study which concluded that deals made through panda diplomacy could have long-term environmental implications. They cited the example of Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, which received its first pair of pandas in December 2011. This agreement was overseen by the Chinese vice-premier while negotiating contracts valued at 2.6 billion in a range of sectors such as petrochemicals and renewable energy technology, salmon meat, and Land Rover.

The study also noted that the Panda agreements with Canada, France and Australia coincided with those countries' uranium agreements and with China.

After that ?

In November 2023, after Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden met for the first time in a year, Mr. Xi hinted that his country might start sending pandas to the United States again.

We were very excited and hopeful, said Megan Owen, a member of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and vice president of Wildlife Conservation Science. P.A.. They expressed immense enthusiasm to restart cooperation with pandas, starting with the San Diego Zoo.




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