Panda diplomacy — a practice by the People's Republic of China to gift pandas in order to improve diplomatic ties with the other country – has been going on since the 1950s. As a part of this practice, China has gifted several pandas to the United State of America.
Now, Chinese people are protesting against the alleged mistreatment of the 22-year-old panda called Mei Xiang who lives at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington DC, as per a Daily Mail report.
The report says that on the Twitter equivalent of China — Weibo — people are running hashtags, asking their government to save the panda Mei Xiang. Born in China in 1998, the panda was given to the US as a diplomatic gift in the year 2000.
According to Daily Mail, several users have shared clips of Mei Xiang from the zoo alleging that he is not being fed properly. Sharing a clip allegedly shot on October 21, a Weibo user claimed that the panda was forced to beg for food and was made to stand at the gate of her enclosure.
Reportedly, different topics related to Mei Xiang were trending on the platform Weibo that said ‘Save Mei Xiang’ and US-residing Panda Mei Xiang Abused.’ The zoo has rubbished all these claims and said that the panda is eating well — 60 pounds of bamboo every day. They said that the claims about mistreatment are unsubstantiated.
They also added that in their zoo, nutritionists work with the keeper staff in order to provide the appropriate nutrition to the animals. However, earlier as well, Chinese social media users have alleged abuse of Mei Xiang at the hands of the zoo authorities. Back then, Chinese authorities had to release a statement to calm down the protesting animal lovers.
Mei Xiang gave birth to a male baby in August 2020 who is in good health and has turned 2 months old now. She lives with her partner Tian Tian at the zoo in Washington DC.