Ma can best honor Goodall by letting Pandas stay in China

President Ma Ying-jeou (right) meets internationally-renowned environmentalist and UN Ambassador of Peace Dr. Jane Goodall at the Presidential Buildin

President Ma Ying-jeou (right) meets internationally-renowned environmentalist and UN Ambassador of Peace Dr. Jane Goodall at the Presidential Buildin

Few globally prominent persons manifest such passionate love and concern for Taiwan as environmentalist Jane Goodall, the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees.
Goodall, now a United Nations Messenger of Peace, has been warmly received on her numerous trips to our island country by presidents Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian and now President Ma Ying-jeou of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) government and her Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) foundation has played a major role in promoting environmental education in Taiwan over the past decade.
During her current three-day visit to Taiwan, the 74-year old environmentalist first visited Tarumak Village of the Rukai indigenous tribe, and participated in the initiation ceremony for a "Roots and Shoots Program" in Eastern Taiwan.
The "Roots and Shoots" campaign created by Goodall now has over 800 grassroots branches around the world that bring youth together for environmental and humanitarian service and improving the lives of people, animals and the ecology.
This environmental youth and education movement has been extremely successful around the world including in Taiwan, which has numerous "Roots and Shoots" groups in educational institutions from nursery schools to universities.
Goodall will also hold a seminar on building Taipei County into a "Eco-City" at the Taipei County government offices in Banqiao today during which she will participate in a dialogue on the theme of "compassion" with Buddhist Master Sheng Yen.
Goodall will also receive a honorary doctorate from the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology tomorrow and deliver an address on "Love and the Earth" before proceeding to Tainan County to tour the Pheasant-tailed Jacana Nature Park in Guantian.
Moreover, shortly after her arrival in Taipei Monday morning, Goodall met with President Ma at the Office of the President.
Actions speak loudest
Ma lauded the 74-year-old environmentalist for her continued efforts to focus global attention on animal conservation, environmental protection and cultivating compassionate relationships between the world's human and animal communities.
Ma also related that the chimpanzee, which Goodall has devoted four decades of her life to study, has finally become one of the world's most devoted animals and also acknowledged that Goodall is not simply a scholar who has made important discoveries on the ability of primates to make tools and create communities but a philosopher who is deeply concerned with the development of humanity.
Based on material apparently provided by aides, Ma lauded Goodall's decades of achievement in environmental and conservation activism, but it should be noted that Goodall does not require or need words of praise from politicians but action.
For example, Ma should take a closer look at Goodall's life work which began with 25 years of close personal observation of black chimpanzees near Lake Tanganyika and included years in Uganda, Congo, Tanzania and Kenya, where she created a chimpanzee reserve.
Principles
Goodall's attachment and commitment to chimpanzees is symbolized by her constant possession of a chimpanzee doll, but she should absolutely never carry or claim to "possess" a live chimpanzee and would never recommend that the Taipei City Zoo purchase and raise and imprison chimpanzees.
Goodall and her Jane Goodall Institute are very careful to avoid becoming embroiled in partisan political struggles in Taiwan between the so-called "blue" KMT camp and the broad pro-Democratic Progressive Party "green camp."
Therefore, she and the JGI have basically kept silent about the intense controversy over whether Taiwan should accept the "gift" of two pandas offered to KMT honorary chairman Lien Chan in April 2005 by People's Republic of China State Chairman and ruling Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao.
However, Goodall did sign together with a group of young Taiwan friends in 2006 a manifesto for the conservation and protection of animals that vowed that "I will use the rest of my life to let all of the people in the world know that animals have personalities, inspiration, emotions and feelings just like humans."
Likewise, we believe that, after leaving their native breeding grounds in Sichuan, China, "Tuantuan" and "Yuanyuan" will not be happy in their air-conditioned captivity in the Taipei City Zoo.
If Ma was sincere in his admiration for the life work and philosophy of Dr Jane Goodall and if he was sincere in fulfilling his mandate to ensure the welfare of the Taiwan people, he would let "Tuantuan" and "Yuanyuan" stay in China along with the denigration of Taiwan's sovereignty which "acceptance" of this politically motivated "gift" will bring.