China’s ‘friendly envoy’ panda makes US comeback in 3D
The cartoon titled ‘Basi says hello to the world’ is taking over Times Square for 10 days from September 21 to September 30.
Basi is one of the most popular pandas in the world. She is also the world’s oldest panda, turning 35 in November, which is 130 in human years. She comes from China’s eastern Fujian province.
A panda culture and education center has been established in Baoxing county in southwest China pic.twitter.com/heu2uzpRpm— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) September 23, 2015
The famous panda attracted around 2.5 million visitors during her six-month international tour in 1987. Basi became known for her skills shooting a basket, riding bikes, performing acrobatics, and lifting a barbell. She received nicknames such as “Stunt Panda,” “Friendly Envoy,” and “Super Star,” and captured the attention of countries like Japan, France, and Canada.
Panda your way through diplomacy
“Panda diplomacy” is an actual term in China that was coined during the Cold War, when it was especially popular to send out panda ambassadors.
In 1972, China gifted Lan Lan & Kang Kang to Japan’s Ueno City Zoo as part of their conciliatory Panda-diplomacy. pic.twitter.com/AWh1blrzik— Adanusch (@Adanusch) September 13, 2015
The oldest known panda envoys were sent out in 685 AD by Wu Zetian, a Chinese empress of the Tang Dynasty, to Japanese Emperor Temmu.
Panda Pan Pan,the world's oldest male panda celebrates his 30th birthday Monday in SW China. pic.twitter.com/KxQaFU5e9d— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) September 22, 2015
For China, pandas represent peace, goodwill, and a chance to improve relations with the other countries.
Between 1949 and 1982 China sent 23 pandas to nine different countries as gifts.
After that date, Chinese pandas have traveled abroad on a loan basis only. Currently there are 30 pandas enjoying visits in other countries such as Australia, Canada, Russia, Germany, Mexico, the US, France, and Spain.