2000, National Zoo
Millions adore the furry exemplars of China’s “soft power”
Staff writer Abigail Tucker writes in our 101 Objects Special Issue:
So pandas have power over us, what University of Oxford scholars called “soft, cuddly power” in a recent journal article analyzing the political role of China’s ambassador bears. “What other countries see is this cute, cuddly creature, but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes,” says Kathleen Buckingham, lead author of the paper, which appears in the latest issue of Environmental Practice. She adds, “From a Chinese perspective, sharing the care of such a precious animal strengthens the bonds that China has with its ‘inner circle’ of countries.”
Read more of Tucker's essay.