Brussels, 24 June 2023 (TDI): Yesterday, Eric Domb, Chairman and Founder of Pairi Daiza Zoo, received a reply letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping via the Chinese Embassy in Belgium.

In the letter, Xi wrote that he is confident that Domb and other friendly individuals will continue to foster friendship, engage more people, especially the younger generation, in actively participating in promoting friendly relations, and make new contributions to advancing China-Belgium and China-Europe relations.

First, Domb wrote a letter to Xi in early June recalling his visit to the zoo in 2014 and briefing him about recent developments in the zoo.

Pairi Daiza Zoo hosts giant pandas in Brugelette, Belgium.

He excitedly told Xinhua, “I did not expect to get Xi’s reply at all,” further adding, “Your president is one of the busiest men in the world. It is really a mark of special feeling to answer in such a short period of time. It is nearly as important as the contents of this letter.”

In the letter, Domb expressed how much he learned about Chinese gardens and was greatly impressed by China’s stunning landscapes and exquisite garden art during his more than 20 visits to the country.

The Chinese President’s visit to the Chinese Garden of the Zoo in Belgium (2014)

Receiving Xi’s letter has further inspired Domb to enhance the garden and introduce Chinese cultural concepts like “harmony between man and nature” and “harmony and symbiosis” to zoo visitors.

Moreover, Giant pandas Xing Hui and Hao Hao arrived in Belgium in February 2014 and have been residing in the Panda House at the zoo.

In June 2016, Hao Hao gave birth to a male cub named Tian Bao, meaning “Treasure of Heaven.” Additionally, in August 2019, she gave birth to twins named Bao Di and Bao Mei, which translates to “Little Brother of Tian Bao” and “Little Sister of Tian Bao.” The Pairi Daiza Zoo is now home to five giant pandas.

He also wrote about the seventh birthday of the giant panda Tian Bao, informing the president that the pandas in Belgium have been well cared for and have successfully reproduced.

Xi mentioned in his letter to Domb that China is actively advancing modernization with a focus on harmonious coexistence between humans and nature, including significant biodiversity conservation efforts.

As a result, many endangered species, including giant pandas, have been effectively protected, leading to their reclassification from endangered to vulnerable.

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Xi expressed China’s dedication to a high-quality development path that emphasizes ecological preservation and promotes a green and low-carbon approach. This commitment will create more global opportunities and contribute significantly to human progress, he added.

China-Belgium Relations and Commitment to the Protection of Biodiversity

Domb highlighted the shared commitment of Belgium and China to protecting biodiversity. He affirmed the ongoing investments made by people in conserving rare species and their habitats, which has led to the improvement of the entire ecosystem and indirect protection of more species. Domb stated, “This work benefits the future of humanity.”

Expressing his dedication to friendship, Domb said that friendship requires consistent efforts and then conveyed his loyalty to maintaining friendship not only with China but also with the Chinese people.

In Xi’s letter, he recognized the development of China-Belgium relations by saying that the relationship relies on the long-term efforts and selfless dedication of individuals in both countries.

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Moreover, When Domb initiated the construction of a Chinese Garden 17 years ago, he invited craftsmen from China to showcase Chinese culture. These craftsmen have since become Domb’s close friends.