New panda cub born in Japan stands witness to friendship between China and Japan

By Ji Yuqiao Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/24 21:47:25

Photo: Courtesy of the Adventure World in Shirahama,Wakayama, Japan

Giant panda Liang Bang gave birth to her baby cub in Japan on Sunday, grabbing the hearts of netizens in China and elsewhere around the world. This marks the first time that the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding has cooperated with an overseas zoo online during a birth as the COVID-19 epidemic hindered instruction on scene.

The panda cub has been hailed by both the government and the public in China and Japan. Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, sent his blessings to the baby cub, expressing his hope that it can grow stronger. He added that the cub stands as a witness to the friendly relations between China and Japan.

Chinese netizens approved of Zhao's statement. The hashtag "Zhao Lijiang sends blessings to panda cub born in Japan" became one of hottest topics on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Tuesday.

"Congratulations to Liang Bang on the smooth birth of another baby! Hope the baby cub can witness the friendship between China and Japan for a long time," one netizen commented on Sina Weibo.

Photo: Courtesy of the Adventure World in Shirahama,Wakayama, Japan

Following the birth of the cub, some Chinese netizens began to worry about the health of the mother  and baby, alluding to some controversies concerning giant pandas in South Korea and the US.

Earlier this month, South Korean girl band Blackpink landed in hot water after they were seen touching giant pandas Fu Bao and its mother Hua Ni without gloves during a shoot for a TV show at a South Korean zoo. Chinese netizens worried that their heavy makeup could harm the pandas. 

The giant panda Mei Xiang and her new cub in the US have also been a source of worry for some Chinese netizens who question whether the US zoo can take good care of them.

Chinese netizens expressed the hope that the Japanese zoo can learn lessons from the mistakes of others and take better care of the rare animal.

The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where Liang Bang lived before going to Japan, sent a document to the Global Times on Tuesday to introduce the steps involved in the birth of Liang Bang's cub.  

An employee at the base confirmed with the Global Times that this was the first time the base oversaw a panda birth at an overseas zoo online.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, experts from the panda base were unable to go to Japan to provide on-scene guidance during mating, gestation and birth. 

They had to instruct the breeders at the Adventure World in Shirahama,Wakayama, through a video call during the birth. In the end, Liang Bang, who concieved the cub naturally with her mate Yong Ming in Japan, gave birth to a .157-kilogram cub. Both mother and child remain in good health. 

As the world's first long-term international panda cooperation project, China and Japan have set many world firsts such as raising the first twin pandas in captivity, the document said.

Twelve giant pandas born in Japan have been returned to China so far.

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