Planet China

The mating games

Among China’s greatest assets are its pandas, a breed of animal loved across the world – so much so that Hollywood has even cashed-in with the Kung-fu Panda movie franchise. Back in their natural habitat in Sichuan, the pandas were boosting ratings on the province’s media outlet, the iPanda Channel (run by a local conservation centre). Earlier this month, the channel broadcast live over the internet attempts to impregnate the female panda Cui Cui. Soon dubbed the Panda Porn Channel by netizens, audiences tuned in to events at the Ya’an Bifeng Gorge Base at the start of the mating season (which runs from March through May). Initially Cui Cui did not like her chosen mate, Wu Gang, with Taipei’s official news agency reporting that they behaved “aggressively” to one another before she dumped him and left his pen. So staff then introduced Cui Cui to An An, another male, hopeful of a more romantic outcome. Alas Cui Cui was now “shy”, says the news agency, “refusing to lift her tail”. Not much action for viewers so far, but luckily the erotic tide turned when the spurned Wu Gang was reintroduced to the mix. This time after “staff guidance” and some caressing from the male, the pair finally made love for four minutes and 33 seconds. Experts said the mating had been a success and there was a 95% chance that Cui Cui would conceive. Online the gamut of comments ran from one describing the whole process as “gratifying” to those who felt the pandas were being taken advantage of: “It is so embarrassing to be watched by so many people while making love.” Another asked where was the media watchdog SAPPRFT, which normally takes a dim view of anything too sexual on TV or online (recall the Fan Bingbing show that had to be totally re-edited because of cleavage shots, see WiC265).

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