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Effective diplomacy in black and white

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG | China Daily | Updated: 2023-02-22 07:21

This photo taken on Feb 19, 2023 shows giant panda Xiang Xiang at Ueno Zoological Gardens in Tokyo, Japan. People flocked to Tokyo's Ueno Zoological Gardens to see Xiang Xiang on Sunday, the final day for public viewing for the beloved five-year-old female giant panda before her return to China. [Photo/Xinhua]

Xiang Xiang, a 5-year-old female panda born in Tokyo's Ueno Zoological Gardens, finally departed for China on Tuesday. Her parents were loaned to Tokyo for breeding research under a deal that the offspring would belong to China.

Fans had queued up for hours on Jan 20 to win a lottery enabling them to bid farewell to Xiang Xiang.

Similar was the craze in the United States where some 70,000 people lined up to welcome the first two pandas there in 1972. The euphoria had not died down one bit when the Washington-based Smithsonian's National Zoo marked the 50th anniversary of the pandas' arrival last year.

It is fair to say that the giant panda is the best four-legged diplomat from China. Wherever it goes, it receives a warm welcome and spreads friendship. A popular joke on social networking sites goes that the panda best represents cross-cultural harmony and inclusiveness because it is "black, white, and Asian".

For thousands of years, the Chinese people have been encountering all kinds of cultures, some peacefully, some not so. They have all been met with the same open, inclusive nature. While Western civilizations grapple with racism, there is no such equivalent in the Chinese civilization.

Some biologists joke that the giant panda is as strong as any bear, but chose bamboo as its staple food although it can hunt for meat like other predators. That's why it is seen as cute, though that certainly isn't a sign of weakness.

The panda is representative of Chinese culture. Like the cute animal, China, too, is inclusive and extends a warm welcome to all friends, but anyone that dare invade it is bound to fail. It is the only civilization that has, uninterruptedly, evolved for 5,000 years.

We hope that like the panda, China continues to enhance friendship with everyone.

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