As Hong Kong supporters in the United States took the Thanksgiving holiday to be with family, a group of activists centered their Facebook posts around a light topic: pandas.
One of the Facebook users started the topic of pandas by posting a picture of an angry-looking panda with a Chinese subtitle: Crap! I am about to be extradited to China. Hong Konger, fight!
China has been known for its panda diplomacy for a long time. By making contracts with foreign zoos and sending these cute bamboo-eaters, Chinese regime has been able to increase its influence on societies in the Western world.
However, these chubby black-and-white bears often used as symbols for peace and friendship have been weaponized by the regime to punish the nations adopting policies that offend Beijing.
China took back two pandas from the San Diego Zoo in May 2019 amid the escalating trade war between China and the United States. The most visited zoo in the United States has been without one of its most popular features for more than six months.
Zoo-goers are missing their favorite animal now during a holiday season.
After the panda meme was posted on Facebook, a group of chatters quickly joined the discussion in Chinese and expressed their thoughts related to pandas and, of course, China. Following are the messages:
- The United States shall send all pandas back to China.
- [The zoo] fed the pandas, made them chubbyand good looking, but then they had to go back to … followed by two sad facial expressions.
- The United States government shall protect its panda residents.
- The innocent pandas became chips for political purposes.
- It is good to send the pandas back to China. It is so costly to feed them every day with bamboos imported from China. China has made lots of money on this.
- Will the pandas be eaten after they go back to China?
- CCP [Chinese Communist Party] is very powerful.
- Too sad.
- Pandas should seek for political asylum status.
- Let’s do fundraising and help the zoo buy two pandas.
- Only will the garbage country use pandas to express its opinions.
- A picture was posted showing that a panda being carried away mumbles: please don’t send me back to China.
- A video was posted showing an angry panda turned violence to destroy all the custom documentations for it to return to China.
- That is too inhuman.
- [Panda said]: I have been eating well and living well here, and I don’t want to leave.
- CCP doesn’t even let go of pandas.
- Urging British government to cancel the citizenships of Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam and her family’s.
- Pandas, rise up and fight.
CCP’s panda diplomacy started in the 1950s when Chairman Mao was the leader of the Chinese regime. In the United States, First Lady Pat Nixon held the first official ceremony to welcome pandas from China to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., in 1972.
Over the time of many decades pandas have always been the symbol of making a friendly impression of China to the West. However, in recent years, the Western society has become more and more vigilant about the aggressive infiltration efforts made by the CCP.
Stanford University published a report in Nov. 2018, summarizing China’s penetration into American media, universities, think tanks, politics, and other parts of American civil society.
The 200-page report, titled “Chinese Influence and American Interests” states in its afterword: “Once largely a form of economic competition, China’s recent turn to military and political rivalry with the United States has changed the whole equation of the bilateral relationship.”
After Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement made a landslide victory in the city’s district council election, President Trump signed the Hong Kong Democracy and Human Rights Act one day before Thanksgiving. The election victory and the newly adopted U.S. legislation plus the holiday have seemed to make lots of Hong Kong supporters feel a bit of relief.
The panda subject is presenting a softer side of concerns related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
On the other side, the Chinese regime continued to escalate tensions by accusing President Trump’s signing of the new legislation as “… a stark hegemonic practice and a severe interference in Hong Kong affairs, which are China’s internal affairs. China will take strong countermeasures.”