Headline RoundupMay 29th, 2024

Pandas, Symbols of Chinese Diplomacy, to Return to DC Zoo

Summary from the AllSides News Team

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute will welcome two new giant pandas by the end of the year, the organization announced Wednesday. 

Key Quote: A statement from the National Zoo said: “Today, May 29, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (NZCBI) announced it will welcome a new pair of giant pandas, Bao Li [BOW-lee] and Qing Bao [ching-BOW], to the Zoo by the end of the year. Giant pandas are icons in Washington, D.C., and beloved around the nation and the world.”

For Context: China tightly controls how giant pandas are loaned out to foreign zoos, making such loans a widely-recognized symbol of China’s relations with host countries. China’s decision to send new pandas to Washington, D.C. after recalling three pandas from the same zoo in late 2023 — and later sending two pandas to the San Diego Zoo — could signal a warming of cross-national ties via “panda diplomacy.” Those ties have been recently strained by President Joe Biden’s tariffs on renewable energy goods and China's surprise military exercises surrounding Taiwan.

How the Media Covered It: Coverage was generally similar across the spectrum and most common in D.C.-focused outlets like The Washington Post (Lean Left bias) and the Washington Examiner (Lean Right bias). Update 5/29/24 12:09 pm ET: Added context on U.S.-China ties. 

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