Chinese public diplomacy: Pandas as agents of diplomacy and proxies for international relations.
And now, the French get a piece of panda action despite repeatedly ‘hurting the feelings’ the Chinese in recent times. Threatening to snub the Beijing Olympics, the disturbance of the Paris leg of the torch relay by pro-Tibetan militants, and the making of the Dalai Lama an honorary citizen come to mind.
Panda diplomacy has existed as far back as the 7th century AD with Tang dynasty Empress Wu Zetian sending a pair to the Japanese emperor. One thing not reported here is that the Pandas are not ‘given’ for an indefinite period. They’re typically on ten year loans with a standard loan fee of $1m and a provision that any offspring during the loan are property of the PRC.
For more, check out Pat Nixon and Panda Diplomacy.
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‘VIP’ Chinese Pandas arrive for new life in France
Source – Yahoo News, published Jan 16, 2012
PARIS (AFP) – Two Chinese pandas got a red-carpet welcome Sunday when they arrived in Paris for a new life in a country zoo after Beijing put aside its differences with France and extended the hand of bear diplomacy.
The giant black and white bears — dubbed Very Important Pandas by the French media — arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport from Sichuan province in the “Panda Express”, a Boeing 777 specially decorated with a panda motif.
China’s ambassador to Paris, a French member of parliament and zoo staff were on hand to greet them before the pair were whisked off in a truck with a police escort to their new home among the chateaux of the Loire valley. Read the rest of this entry »