Remarks by Ambassador Qin Gang at the Pandaversary Night
25 August 2022
Ms. Park, Dr. Smith,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to welcome you to the Embassy for the Pandaversary Night.
Let me first thank the Smithsonian’s National Zoo for its longstanding contribution to China-U.S. cooperation on giant panda breeding and conservation, and also to the friendly exchanges between the two peoples.
Giant pandas are so adorable, that they are people’s favorite and a go-to choice when they visit the Zoo. Numerous people watch them on PandaCam with great interest every day. Giant pandas are worthy ambassadors. They have much longer tenures than each of the Chinese Ambassadors here, and they have much more fans than us.
The story of giant pandas carries great significance. 50 years ago, Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing joined the big family of the National Zoo. Year by year, giant pandas have become an icon of mutual appreciation and friendship between the two peoples. In particular, the arrival of Xiao Qi Ji two years ago has brought us a happy surprise. The name Xiao Qi Ji itself, which literally means “little miracle”, shows how much we appreciate it and what best wishes we have for it. Last Sunday, we just celebrated his 2nd birthday, and this coming Saturday will be his dad Tian Tian’s 25th birthday. From giant pandas, we are always inspired to get onward and upward, and we always find a source of joy and hope.
To our delight, thanks to unremitting efforts of protection and conservation, the number of giant pandas in the wild in China has increased from several hundred 50 years ago to over 1,800. Giant pandas are not an “endangered” species any more. But sadly, “panda-huggers” are endangered. Now they need protection and conservation.
Actually, pandas made in the U.S. are not only limited to Xiao Qi Ji. We also have Kung Fu Panda. Kung Fu Panda is one of my favorite movies. I still remember a line from it: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift, that is why it’s called present! At present, we get together to cherish the wonderful gift of panda. We need more pandas, and we also need more “panda-huggers”.
Thank you very much. Wish everyone a wonderful Pandaversary night!