Pandas are cute friends and also diplomatic agents

Jul 16, 2018

Pandas and politics. We went to Chengdu’s Panda Research Base in China to see the bears for ourselves. And yes, they really are that cute and lazy, which explains why so many countries want a panda of their own.

Giant pandas are native to China and can only be found in this one specific region of the Tibetan plateau. The bears have only recently gone from endangered to vulnerable after decades of conservation efforts and international support. But, beyond being cute, pandas have also functioned as diplomatic agents for China. Quite a few international panda swaps can be tied back to trade deals. We discuss those, and more, in this panda politics explainer among the pandas.

Written and voiceover by: Dolly Li

Produced by: Dolly Li

Shot by: Mario Chui and Nicholas Ko

Edited by: Mario Chui

Mastered by: Victor Peña


Further reading:

How the panda became China’s diplomatic weapon of choice”, Financial Times.

Infographic: Panda Diplomacy”, South China Morning Post

PandasTibetan plateauChengdu panda research baseInternational panda swapsPanda politics