Pandas, Passion and a Matter of Very Delicate Diplomacy; as China Loans Britain a Pair of Pandas, Will They Produce Our First Ever Cub -- or Have We Been Sold a Pup?

Daily Mail (London), January 12, 2011 | Go to article overview

Pandas, Passion and a Matter of Very Delicate Diplomacy; as China Loans Britain a Pair of Pandas, Will They Produce Our First Ever Cub -- or Have We Been Sold a Pup?


Byline: by Jane Fryer

AT SOME stage this year, two exceptionally important Chinese diplomatic envoys will be transported with great pomp and ceremony through the gates of Edinburgh Zoo.

Their arrival has been hoped for, discussed, negotiated and argued over by scores of very important people for more than five years. A team of royals and top politicians including Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Gordon Brown and (the then) Foreign Secretary David Miliband worked tirelessly to entice them here.

Their arrival, on an as yet unconfirmed date, will be marked by national celebrations and jubilation, commemorative mugs, a huge security operation and blanket media coverage.

Oh yes, and the delivery of many tons of Chinese bamboo.

For these important visitors are neither statesmen nor businessmen, but a pair of seven-year-old giant pandas called Tian-Tian and Yangguang.

The pair -- whose names translate as 'Sunshine' and 'Sweetie' -- will have been dosed with travel sickness pills and sent thousands of miles from the Wolong Panda Breeding Centre in the Sichuan Province of China. They will then settle into the old gorilla enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo for the next decade, making them the first giant pandas to reside in Britain for more than 17 years.

Ever since the purchase of Chi-Chi the giant panda in 1958 for [pounds sterling]12,000, the British have adored pandas.

Chi-Chi fast became a national heroine. She provoked an explosion in zoo visitor numbers, was constantly in the news, became the symbol of the World Wildlife Fund and was fed on bamboo from the garden of Daphne du Maurier's neighbour.

It is hoped that these latest panda imports will bring a little of Chi-Chi's magic with them -- and not least to Edinburgh Zoo, which has been struggling lately and has been forced to close its exotic bird enclosure after a drop in visitors.

Indeed, such is the draw of a pair of pandas -- the giant panda is one of the best-loved symbols in the world, and used to sell everything from electronic goods and fizzy drinks to chocolate and cigarettes -- that not only are visitor numbers expected to double to more than a million a year, but research, tourism and sales of furry merchandise are all predicted to shoot up, too.

And, after nearly 80 years of dismal and embarrassing failure, every hope is pinned on Tian-Tian (the female) and Yangguang making history by producing Britain's first ever panda cub.

Which all sounds wonderfully exciting, and doubtless the keepers (and accountants) at Edinburgh Zoo will be high-fiving in excitement.

But there is more to this than a cuddly animal kingdom love-in. For these pandas were not a gift from one nature conservation group to another, or even a straightforward loan from one.

EDINBURGH Zoo will have the pair for ten years and will have to pay handsomely -- about [pounds sterling]600,000 a year -- for the privilege.

In actual fact, they form a key part of a [pounds sterling]2.6billion trade deal signed this week by the UK and Chinese governments, witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqlang, and including deals with Jaguar Land Rover and Scotland's biggest mainland oil refinery.

So it is that the 'Panda Deal' marks a return to the days of international 'Panda Diplomacy' -- an age-old tactic whereby China gave pairs of pandas (the country's unofficial national emblem) to governments around world to sweeten foreign relations.

It all started back in the Tang Dynasty, when Empress Wu Zetian (625-705) despatched a pair of pandas to the Japanese emperor.

But 'Panda Diplomacy' really came into its own during the Cold War, with the Chinese government giving away 23 furry black and white ambassadors to nine different countries between 1958 and 1982 on a diplomatic charm offensive.

One of the most famous examples was Chairman Mao's gift of Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling to U.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Pandas, Passion and a Matter of Very Delicate Diplomacy; as China Loans Britain a Pair of Pandas, Will They Produce Our First Ever Cub -- or Have We Been Sold a Pup?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.