My first Asia themed card of the trip is this sunny and bright Panda card. I adore Panda's. Doesn't everyone? They are so big, but so gentle and sweet. Imagine eating all the time, only eating bamboo and weighing about 300 pounds? Imagine weighing 300 pounds and being called cute??? For today's post I thought I'd share some interesting factoids about China's use of gifting panda's for diplomatic purposes.
Did you even know that Panda bears are gifted for diplomatic purposes by the Chinese Government? Back in the 70's, after President Nixon visiting China, the Chinese government gifted two Giant Panda bears to the US. These darling creatures were housed in the DC zoo and are enjoyed by many. Here is Pat Nixon viewing one of the gifted panda's in 1972.
In 2005, China attempted to gift two pandas to Taiwan, but there was a lot of conflict. Taiwan had a sensitive relationship with China. Technically they are part of the Repulic of China but they have their own democratic government and from what I can tell ROC generally allows them a fair amount of independence, but back in 2005 this was all very tentative. The gift attempt of Panda's raised many political objections. Many in Taiwan considered the gift as an attempt to further unify the countries, which Taiwan wanted no part of. Taiwan was trying to gain more independence, not more unification. China also had reservations about the gift and claimed that Panda's were not suited to the warmer, tropical climate of Taiwan and also thought that the Taiwanese did not have the expertise to rear the pandas successfully.
In 2007 the ruling democrative progressive party approved a resolution asserting a separate identity from China and called for the enactment of a new constitution for a 'normal country.' It also called for general use of 'Taiwan' as the island's name, without abolishing its formal name, the Republic of China.
In 2008 there was a change in leadership in Taiwan agreed to accept the gift of the two pandas. Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan now live in the Taipei zoo and are very popular and doing well. I got to see these guys in 2011 during my last visit to Taiwan.
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