This is from February 1972. The then US President Richard Nixon visited China. Here he met the chairman of the Communist Party, or rather, the then Chinese President Mao. Mao promised Nixon that he would send two pandas to America. According to Mao, this beautiful and cute animal will be a symbol of friendship between America and China, that is, ‘Symbol of Friendship’. Since then this panda diplomacy continues. However, it is said about China that it sees business and profit in everything. China has given ‘pandas on loan’ to many countries of the world to keep them in their zoos. And named it friendship. America also pays 5 to 1 million dollars every year for these pandas. Now a bill is being introduced in the US Parliament to eliminate it. Let us understand the matter in detail.

When the Panda Diplomacy
began after Nixon and Mao met in 1972, the New York Times called it the polite warfare. Before proceeding further, it is important to know that why this issue of panda diplomacy exists today? Why is it 50 years old today?

Actually, Nixon’s Republican Party MP Nancy Mac has introduced a bill in Parliament. In this, it has been asked to reconsider Panda Diplomacy. In other words, Nancy wants that the process of panda diplomacy should end now, because China uses it to hide its sins and deeds. Not only this, American zoo spends huge amount for every panda and yet China takes back these pandas.

What is Panda Diplomacy
Presently Panda Diplomacy is not the same as it was during Mao-Nixon’s time. China rents this animal to America and other countries annually. In exchange for keeping a panda in a zoo for a few years, that country (or zoo) gives China 5 to 1 million dollars every year. According to Nancy- If China calls Panda the Goodwill Ambassador, then what about the rent or loan? Experts say – China is using this panda diplomacy and soft power to change the image of dictatorship in front of the world.

Listen to Andrew Nathan, Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. They say – Yes, China is using soft power through Panda. Panda is very cute and cute animal. Through this, China has been presenting its image on the diplomatic front as a friendly country.

Visitors take a picture of a panda at the US National Zoo.

Visitors take a picture of a panda at the US National Zoo.

What is in the new bill The
bill introduced by Nancy demands that if the panda is born in another country’s zoo, then it should not be sent to China. Nancy says – If we have to face the sinister intentions of China, then some way has to be found. However, there is also a screw in the passage of this bill. And that those that are given on Panda loan to other countries, they directly contact Zoo. This is the system especially in America. This means that Xu gives money to China out of his earnings, it does not go to the state treasury.

Nancy says – China has to give this message strictly that under the guise of panda diplomacy, it cannot threaten Taiwan, cannot suppress the voice of Hong Kong people, cannot slaughter Uyghur Muslims. Both Biden and Trump call the case of Uighur Muslims a genocide, then why is it not stopped?

Chairman Mao with Richard Nixon in 1972.

Chairman Mao with Richard Nixon in 1972.

There are pandas in three zoos in
America, apart from the National Zoo in America, there are pandas in Atlanta and Memphis Zoo. Their exact number is not clear. Since 1984, China has been giving these pandas on loan of up to 10 years. The pair of pandas found in America during Nixon’s era were named Ling-Ling and Hissing-Hsing. Surprisingly, even if a panda is born in an American zoo, China takes 4 lakh dollars for it. Even after this, they have to return to China, because the conditions are arbitrary. Two pandas were born in the US in 2016 and one in 2020.

The question arises that what is the benefit to America or its zoo? The answer is very simple. America is a very rich country. Millions of people visit the zoo every year and earn a lot of money through this beautiful animal. Therefore, this is not a loss-making deal for Zoo Administration at all.

These twin pandas were born in 2016 in an American zoo.

These twin pandas were born in 2016 in an American zoo.

Opposition to the bill There is also opposition to
Nancy’s bill. Susan Shirk of the China Center says – This will only make the efforts being made around the world to save the panda in vain. We have to make decisions keeping science in mind.

Dan Ash, president of Zoo and Aquarium, says that if this bill is passed, efforts to save this animal for many years will fail. So far both us and the visitors have benefited. People want to see them, because they are very beautiful animals.

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