Skip to main content

Giant panda Fan Xing leaves a Dutch zoo for her home country China

A van carrying giant panda Fan Xing is heading home to a country she has never visited, leaves the Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen, Netherlands, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong) A van carrying giant panda Fan Xing is heading home to a country she has never visited, leaves the Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen, Netherlands, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
RHENEN, Netherlands -

Giant panda Fan Xing began a long journey home on Wednesday -- to a country she has never visited.

The three-year-old was given a ceremonial send off Wednesday from Ouwehands Zoo in the Netherlands, where she was born, for the first leg of her journey to China, where she will join a breeding program that is helping preserve the vulnerable species.

Wouter Jurgens, director Asia and Oceania at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said he hoped the panda would be an ambassador for relations between the Netherlands and China.

Those links have been strained in recent months by the Dutch decision to limit sales of advanced semiconductor processor chips. The government called the move "country neutral," but it was seen as part of a U.S. policy aiming at restricting China's access to materials used to make such chips, which can be used in military technology.

Jurgens said Fan Xing represented "a sign of the special relationship between the Netherlands and China in the field of nature conservation, but of course also much broader."

"So today I would also like to express the hope that this Dutch-born panda, Fan Xing, will contribute ... not only to the protection of nature, the protection of a spec travis king north korea ies and of biodiversity, but also continue to contribute to the relationship between the Netherlands and China."

Fan Xing was born on May 1, 2020, the first cub born in the Netherlands as a part what was once known as China's "panda diplomacy" program. At the time, a quick check determined that the cub was male, but a test late last year that was part of meticulous preparations for her trip to China established that Fan Xing is female.

For decades, China gifted friendly nations with its national mascot. The country more recently has loaned pandas to zoos on commercial terms.

Fan Xing's parents, Xing Ya and Wu Wen, were sent to the Netherlands from Sichuan province in 2017. Under terms of the deal that brought them to this small town in the central Netherlands, any cubs they produce must be sent to China before they reach the age of four. Top Stories

Ontario doctors disciplined over Israel-Gaza protests

A number of doctors are facing scrutiny for publicizing their opinions on the Israel-Hamas war. Critics say expressing their political views could impact patient care, while others say that it is being used as an excuse for censorship.

'No concessions' St-Onge says in $100M a year news deal with Google

The Canadian government has reached a deal with Google over the Online News Act that will see the tech giant pay $100 million annually to publishers, and continue to allow access to Canadian news content on its platform. This comes after Google had threatened to block news on its platform when the contentious new rules come into effect next month.

Live updates

Live updates Hamas frees 10 Israeli women and children, 4 Thai nationals

Ten Israeli women and children and four Thai nationals held captive in Gaza were freed by Hamas, and Israel followed with the release of a group of Palestinian prisoners Thursday. It was the latest exchange of hostages for prisoners under a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza war. Two Russian-Israeli women were also freed by Hamas in a separate release.


opinion Don Martin: With Trudeau resignation fever rising, a Conservative nightmare appears

With speculation rising that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will follow his father's footsteps in the snow to a pre-election resignation, political columnist Don Martin focuses on one Liberal cabinet minister who's emerging as leadership material -- and who stands out as a fresh-faced contrast to the often 'angry and abrasive' leader of the Conservatives.

Stay Connected