Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
By Ralph Jennings
Local TV stations announced the arrival of the two giant pandas from China with the rolling headline: “We’re coming!” TV anchors working the story have given viewers across Taiwan every detail imaginable about the four-year-old pandas — from the fruit and corn buns they love to eat to hopes they will mate at the Taipei zoo and produce a cub.
Michael Turton, a widely read English-language blogger in Taiwan, said China had scored a public relations coup by donating the pandas to its political rival across the Taiwan Strait. “Pandas are so non-threatening … They’re so cute and they’re so widely accepted all over the world as a symbol of China. It’s very successful.”
Not long ago, the pandas would probably have flown to Taiwan via Hong Kong. But since Taiwan’s pro-China President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May, once icy ties have warmed and the pandas flew direct from China, courtesy of direct daily air links that took effect last week.