Pandas a reminder of what can be achieved through cooperation

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. recently announced that China will send two young giant pandas to its zoo. This announcement came just months after the zoo returned three pandas to China amid heightened tensions between the two countries.

The move to send pandas now is highly significant as it symbolizes a gesture of goodwill and a potential step toward reviving people-to-people relations and cultural exchanges. It reminds us of the longstanding cooperation between China and the US in wildlife conservation efforts that predates their diplomatic ties. In the Washington Zoo’s panda exhibit, there’s a display of the crate used to transport the pandas to the US in 1972.

Sending giant pandas abroad has historically held a profound meaning. It reminds us of the longstanding tradition of “panda diplomacy,” which dates back to the early 1970s. This initiative has been a symbol of cultural exchanges and collaboration.

Introducing Bao Li and Qing Bao to the National Zoo offers a moment of shared joy and a reminder of the mutual benefits of cultural exchanges.

This news also brings to mind the impactful documentary The Miracle Panda. The film is a microcosm of China-US cooperation over the past 50 years, and the project is also a success story of collaboration in the field of natural science.

The film captures the life of a panda cub named Xiao Qi Ji, born to Mei Xiang and Tian Tian at the National Zoo. The documentary was well-received by overseas audiences after it aired on the National Geographic Channel in the US.

The documentary chronicles the journey and challenges faced in conserving and breeding giant pandas in collaboration with China. This cinematic piece highlights the fact that panda conservation efforts precede the formalization of diplomatic relations between China and the US.

For over 50 years, the fascination with giant pandas has become a beloved aspect of American culture. It enriches the lives of generations of children and symbolizes China-US relations, especially the understanding of the two peoples.

Yet, panda diplomacy is more than just a heartwarming cultural exchange. It represents a scientific collaboration that has yielded groundbreaking achievements in giant panda conservation. One such notable figure is Barbara Durrant, who pioneered innovative reproductive technologies used in panda breeding.

Her groundbreaking work in animal reproduction has been instrumental in the success of these programs. At the time, these techniques were pioneering, helping ensure the survival and genetic diversity of the giant panda population.

The fascination with giant pandas transcends borders, capturing people’s hearts worldwide. In the US, this admiration is evident in the beloved Kung Fu Panda animated films, where the wise Master Oogway imparts timeless wisdom: “There is no charge for awesomeness… or attractiveness.” Americans are drawn to these gentle creatures’ inherent charisma and the values they embody – resilience, serenity and the preservation of nature’s wonders.

One memorable quote from Kung Fu Panda 2 says, “Your story may not have such a happy beginning, but that does not make you who you are. It is the rest of it – who you choose to be.”

This sentiment is a powerful reminder for both nations. For the betterment of their peoples and the world, China and the US should strive to be partners rather than adversaries. Much like the care and attention given to the giant pandas, we hope that both nations will invest equally in nurturing their relationship, working together to forge a future of peace and prosperity.

Let us continue to cherish these gentle giants and use their presence as a reminder of what can be achieved through cooperation and mutual respect.