Saucy and suggestive commercial exploitation of panda images may
become a thing of the past in the pandas' home city if a planned
law is passed.
The bid for legislation to protect panda images comes in the
wake of some controversial uses of panda iconography which have got
Chinese citizens hot under the collar.
Self-styled panda artist
Zhao Bandi outraged many with his Bandi-Panda fashion show at China
Fashion Week in Beijing earlier this month.
Self-styled panda artist Zhao Bandi outraged many with his
Bandi-Panda fashion show at China Fashion Week in Beijing earlier
this month, sparking nationwide concerns that the so-called
conceptual art creation abused the panda's decent image of being a
friendly and cute symbol.
Zhao, who always wears a cap that makes him look like a panda
cub on his head, is frequently accompanied at media events by a
clutch of scantily-clad panda girls - dressed in the sexy style of
bunny girls, but with panda-eared wigs instead of bunny-eared
"I'm a king in the panda's world. You see these panda girls are
my concubines," he said modestly in an interview with sina.com, a
popular web portal in China on Thursday.
At the Beijing fashion parade Zhao used panda imagery in each of
his creations. He said he used panda images as "a medium to present
different clothing styles of Chinese social classes and social
"There is no meaningful links between panda and these figures
that Zhao depicted in his fashion design. He just uses panda as a
commercial stunt," was a comment typical of many found on Internet
The Chengdu Municipal Committee of the National People's
Congress, in west China's Sichuan province, on Friday confirmed the
receipt of the planned law, jointly outlined by the municipal
bureaus of forestry, parks and woods.
If passed, it would become the world's first panda law.
Zhao told the media that it was "unexpected" news to hear that
his fashion concept might be outlawed by the legislation.
"To me, human being are always more important than pandas. I
have no intention to make fun of pandas. I am a fan of pandas," he
"People deem giant pandas to be China's state treasure. I am
also a treasure for China, no less significant than the panda,"
said Zhao, who prefers to be called pandaman.
"Zhao's commercial stunt has prompted us to accelerate the
drafting of the legislation, but regulating commercial activities
abusive to the pandas' image is not the only concern," said Zhu
Shang, an official with the Chengdu Forestry Bureau, who has taken
part in the drafting work.
Zhu told Xinhua that the bureau began preparations for the
drafting in June. The issues taken into consideration also included
making regulations on artificial panda breeding, and banning
photography of newly-born panda cubs.
"In many cases, moral condemnation seems a weak punishment for
abusive activities concerning giant pandas. Issues like artificial
breeding and commercial exploitation of the animal and the animal's
image are not within the spectrum of China's Wildlife Protection
Law," said Zhu.
"The panda is not simply seen as an endangered wild animal here
in Chengdu, but an asset representing the city's image," said Qu
Ying, deputy director of the municipal legislature. Qu disclosed
that the legislature was in favor of the law.
"It usually takes half a year for the legislature to go through
the routine deliberation of a feasibility report sent by
government, before submitting it to the provincial-level
legislature for approval," Qu said.
Giant pandas are one of the world's most endangered species.
Just 1,590 giant pandas are estimated to live in the wild, mostly
in southwest China's mountainous regions. By the end of 2006, about
239 giant pandas lived in captivity in China.
(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2007)