Panda diplomacy

Gifting pandas to further China’s politics

by Naomi Clark-Shen

Throughout history, China has gifted giant pandas to other countries to foster better ties. Known as animal diplomacy, this act of soft power—no pun intended—can showcase goodwill, create a commitment to reciprocity, and signal hierarchy. So, which nations are China bonded with, and what does this suggest about their relationship?

In both numbers and notoriety, China and its fluffy giant pandas reign supreme in animal diplomacy.
How ethical is panda diplomacy?
The true goal of giant panda conservation remains unclear: Is it ecological, political, or both? Only time will tell.
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