OK, It Seems the Panda-Men Are Real

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Yesterday I mentioned what I thought was an amusing but crude hoax: a story out of Chengdu about panda-handlers who dressed up as pandas to avoid spooking little cubs. Eg:

PandaHunt.jpg

Turns out, it's real. I have received several confirmations, of which the most categorical is this:
>>I can promise you that the researchers really have Panda suits- I have seen them as we share space with these dedicated folks in Wolong.
 
Matthew Chapa
Panda Mountain
Ecotourism Director
www.pandamountain.org <<
I should have had more faith in the realm of the possible in China. Thanks to all for clarifications. And, here's a slide show of what Wolong looked like before the earthquake. Plus, some use of pandas as political artwork in the Beijing Metro, here.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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