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Experts begin picking pandas for Taiwan
By Huang Zhiling (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-08-10 05:34

WOLONG, Sichuan: Selection of the giant pandas to be sent to Taiwan kicked off yesterday at the Wolong Nature Reserve in Southwest China's Sichuan Province.

Giant pandas play with a football at a nurturing base in Southwest China's Sichuan Province on June 6, 2005. [newsphoto] 

Zhao Xuemin, vice-minister of the State Forestry Bureau, announced the nine-member selection panel at a ceremony at the country's largest panda centre.

The panel is led by Zhang Hemin, chief of the Administrative Bureau of the Wolong Nature Reserve, and includes eight other panda officials and experts from around the country.

The Chinese mainland announced plans to send giant pandas to Taiwan following the mainland visit of the island's opposition Kuomintang Party Chairman Lien Chan in May.

The Taiwan compatriots are eager to see the pandas arrive, Zhao said.

An opinion poll in Taiwan showed that more than 70 per cent of people on the island welcomed the decision, said Dai Xiaofeng, a senior official from the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office.

Dai said he hoped the Taiwan authorities would take the Taiwan compatriots' desire into consideration and accept the mainland's offer of the animals.

Zhang Hemin, chief of the expert panel, said the panel should consist of members from both the party sending the pandas and the party receiving them. Because the Taiwan authorities have so far made no response to the offer, the mainland has set up the panel on its own.
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