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Mainland hopes to send panda pair to Taiwan soon
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The Chinese mainland has made adequate preparations for sending a pair of giant pandas to Taiwan, and it hoped that these animals could leave soon, a mainland official has said.

"Taiwan authorities headed by Chen Shuibian refuse the shipment of the pandas for political reasons, but people in the mainland want to send them to Taiwan compatriots with a firm and sincere wish," Yang Yi, spokesman with the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said on Wednesday.

In May 2005, the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council announced a campaign to send giant pandas to Taiwan to display cross-strait peace and comity.

After discussions among experts, standards for choosing the pandas were released and the organizing agency for the campaign was chosen.

After careful experiments, two pandas were chosen from the China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in Wolong, in southwest Sichuan Province.

The two pandas were considered as the best choice by the center.

At the lunar new year festival eve of 2006, the pandas were named "Tuantuan" and "Yuanyuan", both meaning union, as a result of votes by cross-straits compatriots and netizens.

Since then, the pandas had been cared for by the center and both were in good condition, Yang said.

Some Taiwan compatriots showed their affection for pandas as well, and they traveled a long distance from Taiwan to Sichuan to see the pair, Yang added.

(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2008)

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Q: What kind of law is there in place to protect pandas?
A: In order to put the protection of giant pandas and other wildlife under the law, the Chinese government put the protection of rare animals and plants into the Constitution.
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