Beware the Trojan Panda
China's latest weapon in its increasingly effective charm offensive against Taiwan is an offer of giant pandas. Who would think of turning down two lovable animals that zoos around the world can only dream about, you might ask?
The government of archrival Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian, for one, which finds itself tied in knots over the offer. Let one panda's nose in the tent, Chen and his allies fear, and you buy into Beijing's claim that Taiwan is part of China, a notion impossible for the pro-independence government on the island to accept.
"The pandas are a trick, just like the Trojan horse," said lawmaker Huang Shi-cho of the Taiwan Solidarity Union party. "Pandas are cute, but they are meant to destroy Taiwan's psychological defenses."
Huh? Trojan pandas? It seems to us that pandas aren't really in need of Trojans:
The species has earned the nickname "living fossils" for having an inefficient reproductive system, with captive males showing little interest in sex, and females in heat only a few days a year. Foreign scientists working with the Chinese have made advances in artificial insemination, while Chinese keepers have taken a different tack: panda "porn" videos to get them in the mood.
Panda porn? "Mei Xiang Does Manchuria"? Try not to think too hard about that, people.
Attack of the Pandas [LAT]