11 December 2009

The Deportation of Panda

China is hands-down the largest exporter of inferior products- like electronic equipment that breaks after a few uses, harmfully tainted pharmaceuticals and dangerous plastic toys. Yet Americans have practically single-handedly driven its economy to stardom by buying these hazardous products, gleefully ignoring any risks to their children's or own safety. We bought so much substandard Chinese crap that we are now threatened by China's global economic dominance. It may be too late for the US to fight that economic battle but another war wages on. It concerns China's regulations on deportation. Deportation of American Pandas.
Next month, a young Panda (Tai Shan) will be forced to leave his home at Washington's National Zoo and head back to China for breeding. There are only 14 pandas here in the US, all of them on loan from China. Under its agreements with the zoos, China lends panda pairs for breeding and conservation research. Any cubs those pandas produce are then property of China and must become part of the country's breeding program. That means they are deported back to China, never to be returned or enjoyed by young, bratty American zoo-goers again.

Tai Shan was born in 2005 and was granted a two-year extension in 2007. Tai Shan's parents' loan period is will be reached in December 2010 when they too will face deportation. But it doesn't stop there, Panda cubs living in zoos in Atlanta and San Diego are also destined to be ripped from their homes and sent back East- just like little Elian Gonzalez was forced back to Cuba in 2000.

This smells like China's most egregious and unfair trade agreement yet! Their shady commerce practices have for too long restrained us and allowed them to grow exponentially. They have surpassed us in car-buying; they are the 3rd largest market for luxury goods; they are hot on our heels as the world's largest online game market. So why does China need to corner the market on yet another product- one so cute as the Panda?

Americans should fight for their right to keep the Pandas that we produce here in the United States. We cannot allow them to be deported back, giving China the satisfaction of dominating us in yet another category, even if it is best way to protect these bears from extinction. Plus, if China continues to paw at all our bears, eventually we may be forced to get passports and travel outside the U.S. to see these cuddly diplomats.

The photo to the right is not of Tai Shan but was the cutest photo I could find on the internet. He probably already lives in China but we should have him.

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