The Chinese “panda diplomats”

BEIJING – Tevfik Durul

China’s 60-year-old “panda diplomacy” has returned to the international public agenda, with a pair of pandas donated to the country during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Germany last week.

During his contacts in the capital Berlin ahead of the G20 leaders’ summit, he visited Panda Park, where panda couple Mingming, 4, and Chiaoching, 7, who were sent there with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel will remain for 15 years.

With the pair of pandas that China gave as a gift to Germany, the number of “diplomat pandas” in the world reached 48.

Pandas, as a national value of China, have for many years played a major role in strengthening friendships with other countries, breaking the ice with countries where tensions have arisen and enhancing the country’s image. .

It started with Pingping, which was a gift to the Soviets.

China’s panda diplomacy began with Pingping, which was a gift to the Soviet Union in 1957. The country’s first panda diplomat died before completing his fourth grade because he could not cope with climate change.

Then-Chinese Premier Cou Inlay said he would introduce two pandas, Linlin and Shinshing, to the United States to US President Richard Nixon, who had visited Beijing in 1972 to “break the ice “.

Sent to the United States, Linlin and Shingshing won the hearts of the American public by attracting 1 million visitors to the National Zoo in Washington in their first month alone.

Seeing the success of the first experiment, the Chinese authorities began to send pandas to Japan, Germany, France and England in the following years to improve bilateral relations.

According to official data, from 1957, when panda diplomacy was launched, to 1982, 23 pandas were sent to 9 countries and none of them returned.

Panda diplomacy began to be questioned after pandas sent overseas fell ill and died at an early age.

“commercial attaché” after “embassy”

China, which wanted to ensure the protection of endangered pandas while developing relationships with other countries, stopped donations in 1982 and introduced the leasing program in 1984.

The plan was that the pandas should be moved from “embassy” to “commercial fire”.

Dozens of cities in the United States have paid China millions of dollars for the quarterly panda rental program. Having proven themselves commercially after diplomacy, pandas have continued to be the pride of their country.

The declining reproductive rate of pandas, which travel extensively overseas, and demanding training schedules for acrobatic shows have also drawn criticism.

With that, China canceled the leasing program and launched a “joint maintenance” plan in 1994.

Young pandas sent back to China when they were 4 years old

The beneficiary country, which wishes to conduct scientific research on the life of pandas under the program, must pay 10 million dollars to China for a stay of 10 years.

This program has been accepted for the past 23 years, due to its scope and relevance to all parties. Meylun, Meyhuan and Baobao became the first pandas to be sent to the United States under the program.

The joint care agreement between China and the United States in 2000 includes the condition that pandas born in this country be sent to China when they are 4 years old.

China’s 48 overseas diplomat pandas

The Beijing administration still has long-term joint maintenance agreements with 14 countries.

12 in USA, 8 in Japan, 4 in Singapore, 3 in Malaysia and Spain, 2 in UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Canada, Australia, Netherlands and in Thailand. China currently has 48 panda diplomats.

Although the departure of the young pandas causes sadness in these countries, the diplomat pandas continue to play a leading role in strengthening the bonds of love between the Chinese people and the people of other countries.

It is believed that there are only 1,600 pandas left in the world. Most of the pandas, which are listed as endangered due to deteriorating natural environments and declining birth rates, are in care centers in central China.

On the Anadolu Agency website, news presented to subscribers through the AA’s News Flow System (HAS) is published in summary. Please contact for subscription.

Leave a Comment