Pandas as thanks?

Interesting study here.

China’s practice of gifting and loaning giant pandas has been given new impetus as a result of damage to panda-conservation facilities caused by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and China’s rise as an economic power. We suggest that a new, third phase of panda diplomacy is under way that is distinct from the previous two. Phase 1 during the Mao era (in the 1960s and 1970s) took the form of China gifting pandas to build strategic friendships. Phase 2 followed Deng Xiaoping’s rise to power in 1978 when gifts became gift loans involving a capitalist lease model based on financial transactions. In the emerging phase 3, panda loans are associated with nations supplying China with valuable resources and technology and symbolize China’s willingness to build guanxi—namely, deep trade relationships characterized by trust, reciprocity, loyalty, and longevity.

Documents accessed via Freedom of Information requests show that PM Harper requested the pandas and that the Chinese government wanted a high level visit to the country to announce it.

“Although the approval has been granted, China has advised that a public announcement should wait for a suitable occasion (i.e. a senior level visit). As China has already granted approval for the loan, the risk of a change in this arrangement is low and the loan process is expected to proceed without incident.”

Just so happens that the uranium issue fit the bill.

According to Canada’s Postedia [sic] News, in 2012 Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced China would be loaning Canada two pandas on the same trip that he signed an agreement expanding Canadian uranium exports to China.

The pandas do make Harper look good to the nondiscerning.  But the relationship with China is complex.

And dangerous.  More uranium will be mined and shipped.  And more people will be harmed.

Cameco, poisoning minds and kids

Not only is Cameco  poisoning northern Saskatchewan through its uranium mining practices, but it is also poisoning the minds of children who happen to take in the Much More Munsch display at the Children’s Discovery Museum in Saskatoon.  As corporate sponsor Cameco gets to demonstrate how generous it is to the community while in the north it contaminates plants and wildlife, lakes and rivers, the earth and its people.

Interestingly, Munsch’s publicist claims Munsch has nothing to do with that traveling display.  How Munsch can possibly extricate himself from the merchandizing and characterizing around it is beyond me!  The brochure for the display even thanks him and Martchenko (his illustrator) for their collaboration on it!  After several emails, I’ve decided to quit trying to understand it, to boycott Munsch, and to post this here.

In other Cameco news, today we learn that the company is also going to poison China, by increasing sales to that country so that the Chinese government can fuel  a reactor in order to meet China’s increased energy demands.

Cameco Corp., the world’s second- largest uranium producer, agreed to supply the fuel to China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co. through 2025 to meet rising demand in the world’s fastest-growing nuclear market.

Cameco plans to sell 29 million pounds of uranium concentrate to China Guangdong Nuclear, subject to the approval of the Chinese government, the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based company said in a statement yesterday. That’s equivalent to about 13,000 metric tons.

I guess we can call it fair if kids in both countries are poisoned, eh?