Clamor to name Berlin Zoo panda cubs Hong and KongLocal | 6 Sep 2019 10:49 am
Panda cubs born at Berlin Zoo may only be a few days old, but calls are growing across Germany to use their names to send a message to China about its rights record, Deutsche Welle reports.
The Berlin-based Tagesspiegel newspaper polled its readers this week asking for name suggestions for the tiny cubs — with the names Hong and Kong emerging as the most popular result.
Readers also suggested naming the babies "Joshua Wong Chi-fung" and "Agnes Chow Ting" after pro-democracy protest leaders Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow — as well as Tien Tien and Anmen Anmen in reference to the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.
"Maybe with those names, we might be able to keep them," Tagesspiegel wrote, remarking on the fact that the Berlin Zoo will not be allowed to keep the cubs, as China will take them back once they no longer need their mother.
The German tabloid Bild also said it will be calling the cubs Hong and Kong to stand with the pro-democracy protesters and "because China's brutal policies are hiding behind these panda babies."
"Pandas are China's unwitting instruments to win the hearts and minds of Western citizens and blind them to its crimes," the tabloid wrote.
Wong himself told Bild yesterday that he hopes the Berlin Zoo will name the two panda cubs Democracy and Freedom.
"Germany could send a clear signal to China," the protest leader said.
Tagesspiegel readers also offered up less politically charged, but no less eyebrow-raising names, including: Yin and Yang; Ping and Pong; Tai and Chi; Kung and Fu; as well as Bam and Bus (which when put together means "bamboo" in German).
Max and Moritz, the infamous tricksters from Germany's most famous children's book, were also floated as suggestions.
The Berlin Zoo has yet to open an official contest to name the cubs, who were born on Monday to giant panda Meng Meng after several unsuccessful attempts to breed pandas at the zoo.
Meng Meng and her male partner Jiao Qing made headlines across Germany when they arrived at the Berlin Zoo in 2017 as part of a 15-year loan agreement with China.
Under the agreement, the cubs must be returned to China after two to four years once they no longer need their mother.