Giant panda Ya Ya returns to China after controversy
Giant Panda Ya Ya has returned to China after a controversy over her health sparked a social media storm and put a strain on the already souring relationship between Beijing and Washington. Ya Ya was born in the Beijing Zoo in 2000 and was loaned to the Memphis Zoo in the United States under a 10-year agreement, which ended this April. During her stay in the US, Ya Ya and Le Le, the Memphis Zoo’s male panda, were in poor health, which led to accusations that the US was not taking proper care of them.
This incident has raised questions about the “panda diplomacy” programme, through which China loans pandas to zoos around the world as a symbol of friendship. China has promised to investigate the real reason why Ya Ya is sick now and to acknowledge that the pandas have been well looked after in the US. It is important to note that this incident should not be linked to the Sino-America relationship, as it is a separate issue. Both sides need to be more rational and look at this incident objectively.