It’s called “panda diplomacy” and it’s thought to have started as early as the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century when Empress Wu Zeitan sent a pair of bears (believed to be pandas) to Japan. This Chinese policy of sending pandas as diplomat gifts were revived in 1941, on the eve of the United States entering World War II, when Beijing sent two cuddly black-and-white to the Bronx Zoo as a “thank you” gift. Chairman Mao frequently engaged in panda diplomacy in the 1950s, sending bears as gifts to China’s communist allies (such as North Korea and the Soviet Union).[HISTORY CHANNEL]
- [the national] Why panda diplomacy is cute but ethically questionable?
- [The Gurdian] China’s cuddly ambassadors with diplomatic clout.
- [Independent] Unlikely ambassadors: Panda diplomacy