Changing China

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Olympic panda-monium reigns at Beijing Zoo

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Pandas at the zoo

Forget Olympic fever. Nothing beats panda-monium.

The “Olympic pandas” at Beijing Zoo really do drive the crowds wild — even Germany’s beloved polar bear star Knut would be hard pressed to match the panda adoration sweeping the nation.

When the eight pandas in the Olympic Pavilion strut their stuff at feeding time, mothers rush to get a picture of their child with China’s national symbol in the background.

Crowds press six deep up against the glass. Everyone jostles for a position. Cameras flash constantly. The very sight of the pandas makes people grin inanely.

They have certainly played their part over the years in breaking down the barriers — panda power ranks alongside ping pong diplomacy in the breakthrough stakes.

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