Panda fever among New York’s rich and powerful


Top society and culture news for March 9, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "The Taliban goes to Beijing.

  • Pandas will fix everything / New York Magazine
    On the evening of February 8, 450 socialites, businesspeople, and politicians attended a “Black & White Panda Ball” to raise money to bring a couple of pandas to live in Central Park. The city’s power elite had gathered to find something cuddly and uncontroversial that could bring them together after “emerging bleary-eyed and anxious from the election season.” Though the ball met its goal of raising $500,000, the panda crusade led by Representative Carolyn Maloney still has a long way to go: Challenges ahead include providing suitable living conditions for the pandas and signing a lease deal with the Chinese government. Last month, Bao Bao, the National Zoo’s beloved star panda, was returned to China before his fourth birthday, as the terms of the standard panda loan agreement require.

A brief history of panda diplomacy

  • Traveler in Guilin physically attacked by her tour guide for not shopping / People’s Daily (in Chinese)
    Chinese social media lit up on Wednesday with a video of a female tourist being verbally abused and physically attacked by a tour guide while sitting on a bus. The incident happened in Guilin, a popular tourist destination known for its dramatic landscape of limestone karst hills. According to the tourist, the dispute happened after she refused to step off the tour bus to visit a shop as the guide had requested. To attract tourists, many operators in China charge below-cost prices for tour group packages, and make their profits by forcing tourists to shop at stores that give them kickbacks.