I'm starting to think it would be possible to create a successful blog out of nothing more than comments on the funny-because-they're- being-serious articles in China's state-controlled media.
In this recent gem from Xinhua, we learn that China expects Taiwan to forget that whole silly independence thing now that China's offered to import more Taiwan-grown fruits, let Chinese citizens travel to Taiwan, and this is the biggie, folks give Taiwan its very own pair of pandas:
Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, announced here Tuesday morning that the mainland compatriots have decided to present a pair of giant pandas, known as national gem, to Taiwan compatriots as a symbol of peace, unity and friendship.China's supposed goodwill gesture gives off a tawdry, late-night-infomercial vibe: How much would you pay to be governed by a dictatorial regime known for its human rights abuses and repression of free speech and religion? Wait! Don't answer yet! Because we're also throwing in... a pair of giant pandas! Now how much would you pay?
..."For many years, the mainland compatriots have had the wish to present giant pandas to Taiwan compatriots, and many Taiwan compatriots have repeatedly expressed their expectations to see cuddly pandas in Taiwan too," Chen said in Shanghai, the last stop of the KMT delegation's mainland tour from where the group will fly back to Taipei Tuesday afternoon.
Chen said the Taiwan compatriots' desire for giant pandas to settle down on the island has become ever stronger now that Lien's mainland tour and an upcoming visit by People First Party (PFP) leader James Soong have helped deepen the affection and affinity between Chinese compatriots on the two sides of the Straits.
"We hope the pandas, with their tame nature, air of nobleness and cuddly looks will bring joy and laughter to the Taiwan compatriots, children in particular," he said.
I'm reminded of Humphrey Bogart's line in Casablanca: "I don't mind a parasite. I object to a cut-rate one."
It strikes me that pandas are a poor symbol indeed for China's communist leaders, who are definitely not known for their cuddly looks or tame nature, or for bringing anyone joy and laughter.