China Presenting Panda Pair to Hong Kong

By: CBS News
By: CBS News

China announced on Tuesday the selection of a pair of pandas to be sent to Hong Kong to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the former British colony's handover to Chinese rule.

The pandas will be delivered to the semiautonomous territory before May 1, the official Xinhua News Agency said in a brief report. No other details were given.

Unique to China, Pandas are frequently used by the government as a symbol of goodwill.

Loans have been made to the United States and other countries to mark major breakthroughs in relations.

China has been building anticipation of the July 1 handover commemorations, as part of efforts to instil patriotism and loyalty to the Communist Party leadership.

Regaining sovereignty over the territory is celebrated as a watershed event in China's resurgence after a century of foreign domination and orthodox communist isolation.

China in 2004 offered to send pandas to Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing claims as its territory following a reconciliation between the communists and their former Nationalist foes. However, the loan was rejected by the island's independence-leaning government.

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