March 21, 2007

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How much can a panda bear?

To celebarte the 10th anniversary of the Communist takeover of the Big Lychee, the city is to receive two pandas from the motherland, romantically named 606 and 610:

A pair of young pandas - described as being "in love with each other since birth" and a gift from the central government to Hong Kong to mark the 10th anniversary of the handover - will arrive before May 1...

After the two young pandas have reached puberty, at the earliest by 2008, Hong Kong will be able to keep their babies unless the central government disagrees. "As long as [the babies of 606 and 610] are born in Hong Kong, they're Hong Kong permanent residents," Li said.

This stands in stark cotrast to how humans are treated under the right of abode issue. Apparently pandas are special.

The SCMP report also includes a brief outline of the selection process for these pandas:

Feng Zuojian , the team leader, said five stringent criteria - age, physical condition, behaviour and psychology, look and genetic condition - were examined. One of the most important tasks of the team is to determine who the pandas' fathers are.

"Our genetic analysis has indicated that the two pandas we selected are following two bloodlines that have not crossed into each other in the past four generations," Professor Feng said. "Therefore they are suitable to be matched."

Why didn't they just run "Hong Kong's Next Top Panda" on TV for 12 weeks to find them instead? It would have rated through the roof.

posted by Simon on 03.21.07 at 12:23 PM in the Hong Kong category.


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