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Hometown wishes for smooth donation of giant pandas to Taiwan

  时间:2006-03-13 09:50    来源:     
  Chinese lawmakers from Sichuan, hometown of the giant pandas the Chinese mainland, expressed wishes for early realization of the panda donation to Taiwan.

"I am sure Taiwan compatriots will like the two lovely little things," said Xiong Fangqiu, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC) from Sichuan province.

"They are certain to bring compatriots of both sides closer," said Xiong, who is attending the annual parliament session in Beijing..

The couple of giant pandas, named Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, are intended as goodwill gifts from mainland people to Taiwan people. They were selected from 23 candidates and named by public votes.

However, the time for the giant pandas could go to Taiwan remains a question as the Taiwan authorities are reluctant to accept the gifts for fear they would boost affinity between the people on both sides across the Taiwan Straits and therefore undermine the political base of the Taiwan authorities.

Relations between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan suffered estrangement after a civil war in the late 1940s. The People on both sides have recently stepped up efforts to boost affinity and to strive for peaceful reunification.

"Giant pandas bring happiness to people and boosts affinity. There are no sound reasons for obstructing its entry into Taiwan," said Ma Li, another NPC deputy from Sichuan.

Liu Jie, director of the Sichuan provincial tourism administration, expressed hope that the giant pandas would attract more Taiwan tourists to Sichuan. The scenic spot-rich province hosts nearly 300,000 Taiwan tourists every year and more than 1,200 Taiwan-funded businesses.

Giant panda is an endangered species in the world. It is estimated that 1,206 giant pandas live in the wild in Sichuan, accounting for 76 percent of the national total. The province is also home to two thirds of 183 giant pandas living in captivity in China at the end of last year.

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