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Panda Diplomacy

by on April 4, 2014

When the name panda is mentioned, what crosses our mind is , a black & white and cute animal but for China, a panda is a symbol of a special friend status. ”Panda diplomacy” has become a very well-known way for china to be able to assert soft power and alleviate relations with other nations and pandas for many years have been used to say ”you scratch my back and I will scratch yours’ in diplomatic terms.

What is not mentioned frequently with panda diplomacy is that, pandas are not very reproductive. About 90 percent of males are sterile and 70 percent don’t have the desire to mate. Another key factor which needs to be considered when involving this animals for self interest and use them for diplomatic purposes is that , they suffer outside their natural habitat, which doesn’t take a genius to figure out that basically means if they are sent anywhere outside china. Ping-ping is the name of the panda that was sent to the soviet union in1957, this panda only lived three years after the move. Most pandas are said to have died of diseases in digestive system. One of the few sucess stories of those sent abroad are, the one panda in Germany and three in Mexico who had offspring that survived.

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What is it that is so important in exchanging these animals with the cost of their lives? Diplomacy.
A big move in panda diplomacy occurred in 1972, when the pandas that wounded up at the national zoo in D.C ended up attracting 20,000 visitors on the first day they were on display.
In 2005, Taiwan was not interested when offered a panda, calling it a tactic used by the Chinese government to gain support for the reunification. But then, in 2008, a gift of two giant pandas to Taiwan sealed the deal on a year of blossoming ties.

A policeman guards two giant pandas on Dec. 22, 2008. The two giant pandas waited to make their long-anticipated and highly-scrutinized trip from China to Taiwan, sealing a year of blossoming diplomatic ties between the two arch rivals. (Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images)

A policeman guards two giant pandas on Dec. 22, 2008. The two giant pandas waited to make their long-anticipated and highly-scrutinized trip from China to Taiwan, sealing a year of blossoming diplomatic ties between the two arch rivals. (Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese leader Xi Jinping recently met Belgium’s royals and visiting a pair of giant pandas ahead of a historic EU visit. Belgium’s King Philippe, who ascended to the throne last year, and glamorous wife Queen Mathilde also join the Chinese pair for the official opening of a special park for two giant pandas on loan from china for the next 15 years. Female Hao Hao and companion Xing Hui too received a red carpet welcome from Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo when they landed in February as part of China’s “panda diplomacy”.
Panda diplomacy for china has now evolved from giving away pandas into renting and loaning them, which has enabled them maintain the political and economic soft power.

Belgian officials meet giant panda Hao Hao at the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas in Dujiangyan, Sichuan province, Feb. 22, 2014. (AFP/Getty Images)

Belgian officials meet giant panda Hao Hao at the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas in Dujiangyan, Sichuan province, Feb. 22, 2014. (AFP/Getty Images)

Bibliography

http://www.china.org.cn/english/features/panda/37997.htm

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/benelux/140330/panda-diplomacy-belgium-china

http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/panda/facts.htm

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