Panda death lightning rod for anger online

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 September, 2010, 12:00am

Talk about bad timing. A giant panda sent to Japan by China has died in Kobe zoo while under anaesthesia as scientists took its sperm for use in artificial insemination.

Many mainland internet users who have been closely following the Diaoyu standoff said China should stop sending pandas to its neighbour.

Xing Xing, 14, was sent to Kobe in 2002 and was due to celebrate his 15th birthday next Tuesday. But his heart stopped beating on Thursday morning when the anaesthesia failed and he could not be revived.

The Ministry of Forestry is sending experts to Japan to investigate.

Thousands of angry internet users posted comments on mainland news portals, some sentimental and others expressing hatred for the Japanese.

One website editor said they had overreacted.

'Their anger was triggered by the Japanese coastguard's detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain,' he said.

'If there was no such background, nobody would care about pandas' living conditions overseas.'