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End Of An Era: China Reclaims Pandas From The DC Zoo After Over Two Decades Of Freedom

On Wednesday, three giant pandas will return to mainland China after 23 years at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

The famous panda was part of a diplomatic and protection program between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, NBC 4 Washington report. China loaned two giant pandas to the National Zoo in 2000, and when the couple had a child, they were also considered to have been lent by China.

The couple gave birth to four surviving cubs while in the U.S., but the Chinese government returned the three cubs to the mainland several years later, according to NBC4. The pandas returned to China on Wednesday include the youngest panda, along with its parents.

“As a diplomat in Washington, I bid farewell and depart. As a Chinese government official, I welcome you back,” Chinese diplomat Xu Xueyuan said at a farewell ceremony in Washington, DC, NBC4 reported.

China has a tradition of sending pandas to foreign countries as gifts. The tradition of panda diplomacy dates back to at least 685 AD. according to Contributed to the South China Morning Post. restored It goes back to the 1950s. America’s experience with panda diplomacy began in 1972, when the United States received two pandas following former President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China (CNN) report.

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