Changing China

Giant on the move

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Revealed: “The Panda Reporter”


fialapanda.jpgBy Mike Fiala

The biggest international sporting event Beijing and China hosted prior to the Olympics was the 1990 Asian Games. China dominated the medal count, winning almost twice as many as their nearest rival.

And Pan Pan, the game’s Panda mascot, was everywhere. One of the official sponsors distributed Pan Pan decals to the media showing the official mascot in various XI Asiad sporting poses such as boxing, archery, wrestling, etc. With a little imagination, and a pair of scissors, people would remove Pan Pan’s head and apply the mascot’s sporting themes to their credential photo.panpan21.jpg

I took it one step further and placed Pan Pan’s head right over my mugshot. I was fully expecting someone to ask me to remove it but to my surprise, officials found it rather amusing and I passed through security checkpoints without problem. In all fairness though, security did recognize me. Even Xinhua news agency asked me to pose for a picture and I was dubbed the “Panda Reporter” in the press. I’ll be on the lookout for some Olympic Fuwa mascot stickers this August but something tells me that we won’t be allowed to do the same.