With the 2012 London Olympic Games just around the corner, Chengdu, capital city of Sichuan Province in Southwest China and homeland of the giant pandas, is to launch a public-good initiative in London on June 1st. Sponsored by the Chengdu city government, the three-month program themed “Panda Cab Running for the Olympics” features a number of London's iconic black cabs covered with painted panda patterns which will offer services to visitors in London from all over the world.
Taking the good opportunity of the London Olympic Games, the Chengdu program is aimed to promote global efforts to conserve the giant pandas, one of the most endangered animals on Earth with only about 1600 living in the world, and harmony between man and nature, which echoes the Olympic spirit of unity, friendship and peace.
The year 2012 also marks the 40th anniversary of China-UK ambassadorial diplomatic relations. To further the bilateral ties, a series of activities highlighting the Sino-UK "Giant Panda Partnership" has been carried out to add festive atmosphere to the forthcoming Summer Olympics. As a major partner of the "Giant Panda Partnership” program of the Edinburgh Zoo, Chengdu has always been actively facilitating the cooperation and sent a pair of giant pandas -- “Tian Tian” and “Yang Guang” -- to the Scottish city, where they are warmly welcomed by the locals. The fund of the program will be used for joint research and educational and cultural exchanges between China and the UK.
As the hometown of the giant panda, the first Chinese city to breed and protect the endangered species, and the window through which the Chinese national treasure says “hello” to the world, Chengdu has held a number of international non-profit activities using the image of panda. In the "Earth Hour" initiative organized by the World Wildlife Fund in 2011, giant panda "Meilan" served as the global ambassador and turned off the light to promote an energy-saving lifestyle. And this year Chengdu initiated a project to release giant pandas bred in captivity back into the wild. The efforts aimed to inspire the international community to protect the environment and biodiversity. The program has received significant responses in China and abroad.
Chengdu always strives for raising the international community’s awareness of endangered species conservation, promoting the harmony between man and nature, and further advocating the Olympic spirit of unity, friendship and peace. The “Giant Panda Cab Running for the Olympics” initiative is commenced for this very purpose.