Panda diplomacy is a profit of 280 million dollars for China
Panda diplomacy is a profit of 280 million dollars for China: Japanese media revealed that China’s “diplomatic tool” panda has earned China more than 280 million US dollars. On the contrary, various countries have lost nearly US$300 million because of the high rents required to raise pandas, and the maintenance fees are even more staggering.
Liberty Finance cited a report from Nikkei Asia that the economic cost of leasing pandas to China is US$1 million per pair per year. Since 2014, the Chinese government has sent 21 giant pandas overseas, including 13 that are only heading to Europe, and the average lease period has also been extended to 15 years from the previous 10 years.
The report mentioned that the details of the panda leasing contract have become increasingly confidential. According to the leasing agreement, if the giant panda dies in the zoo during the leasing period, China must pay compensation of US$500,000 to US$1 million.
At the same time, according to the agreement, if a red panda is born in these zoos that raise giant pandas, each one must pay additional fees to China. When the red panda grows to 2 to 4 years old, it must be sent back to China because it is from China.
The number of captive pandas has increased 3.3 times in 20 years
In China, the Chinese government has expanded its diplomacy through pandas, and the number of pandas in captivity has continued to rise. In 2022, there were 698 pandas in captivity, an increase of 3.3 times in 20 years.
Nikkei contacted more than 10 zoos around the world, and data from zoo records, legal documents, public documents, and media reports showed that since 1994, zoos from Toronto, Canada to Tokyo, Japan have brought in at least US$280 million in revenue to China.
The United States has leased giant pandas to China since 1996. According to a 2005 article in the Washington Post, these four zoos spent a total of US$33 million raising giant pandas in the four years to 2003. The zoos spent more money caring for pandas than they earned.
Due to the high cost of leasing pandas, other zoos in the United States have also given up the idea of renting pandas. Since 2003, the United States has not leased giant pandas. The pandas in Memphis returned to China in April this year after their 20-year contract expired.
As the lease period is about to end, the Edinburgh Zoo in the UK is also preparing to send a pair of giant pandas back to China before the end of 2023.
In 1994, China leased a pair of pandas to South Korea. Later, due to the outbreak of the Asian financial crisis, South Korea could not afford the annual rent of US$1 million, so South Korea returned the pandas to China in 1998.
The Malaysian government estimated in November 2016 that it would cost more than RM151 million by 2024 to keep a pair of pandas at the National Zoo in Kuala Lumpur for 10 years.
In addition to agreeing to pay an annual lease fee of approximately US$1 million for giant pandas, the Finnish Zoo also spent 8.2 million euros to build a panda pavilion, including a facility for red pandas. Its zoo CEO Arja Väliaho pointed out that the total annual cost of raising giant pandas is 1.5 million euros.
However, it is now rumored that Finland cannot afford to raise giant pandas. The contract was for 15 years, but only five years have passed.
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