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CHINA: Is Paul Simon a panda hugger?

Paul Simon writes: "'Xongmao' is "panda" in Mandarin and it does indeed mean bear-cat. Pandas are near and dear to us, literally--The world's two panda breeding centers are close by, and I have been to them; the Panda is doomed in the wild, say many experts but will survive in captivity thanks to aggressive breeding and fertility programs. I find it ironic that several brands of local cigarettes and Chinede Baijiu ("white lightening"-style liquor) have pandas as their emblem--must indicate that you, too can be on the road to extinction if you consume enough?"

My comment: Pandas are cute-looking because of their unusual ying-yang coloring. However, they are really "mean-bear-cats." "Aggressive breeding" is not one of their characteristics. Who would want to hug them? Not I. And Paul is not really a panda-hugger.

Ronald Hilton - 12/25/01