Zoos around the world are on loan from China

The panda at your local zoo may look like it's at home in its cozy sanctuary. But unless you live in China, the pandas that you're seeing are just visiting. That's because every one of the gentle giants in zoos around the world are on loan from China. Yes, they're technically the property of the government of China, according to Vox.

But any panda can be taken away

China's making longer panda loans now than it used to — the loan to Belgium is 15 years long — and tends to extend the loans before they expire. But just as politics inflect when China gives out pandas, it's also a factor in when they take them away.
Buckingham and her coauthors see the tale of Tai Shan as a cautionary tale to governments with loaned pandas: if your guests become too popular with the public, you might find yourself pressured to agree to Chinese demands. After all, Buckingham points out, pandas "speak to the public" in a way most diplomatic concerns don't.