|Michelle Obama savors Tibetan flavors
US first lady Michelle Obama wrapped up a week-long trip to China by feeding a panda before having a yak-based lunch at a Tibetan restaurant.
(Pictured, Michelle Obama spins Tibetan prayer wheels at a Tibetan restaurant in Chengdu).
Obama, who is accompanied by her mother and daughters, visited the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in the southwestern province of Sichuan.
There, the Obamas viewed a 22-year-old grandmother panda named Lili as well as five young pandas, according to base staff.
Pictures showed the first lady using a long stick to pass apples to some of the black and white bears in a grassy enclosure – next to a sign that warned against feeding them. The reserve houses 80 giant pandas and a colony of red pandas.
Obama and her family had lunch at a Tibetan restaurant in Chengdu, a choice that “was in accordance with [Obama's] interest in the rights of minorities in China,’’ according to White House staff.
The dishes served at the Zangxiang Teahouse featured a heavy emphasis on yak, including yak butter tea, yak soup, yak meat pies and boiled yak ribs.
Sichuan and other provinces neighboring Tibet are home to a minority of Tibetans, an ethnic group that rights activists say faces religious and cultural repression, underscored by more than 120 self-immolation protests by Tibetans in recent years.
China rejects such criticism and blames the acts on separatist forces led by the Tibetan spiritual leader-in-exile and Nobel peace laureate, the Dalai Lama.
Obama and her family later flew out of Chengdu airport, heading for the US.—AFP