Don King in Chengdu

Don King Meets with Mayor of Chengdu , Holds Panda Bear

CHENGDU, China (Aug. 17, 2008)—American promoter Don King continued his tour of China by meeting with the Mayor of Chengdu on Friday and traveling to a special preserve for giant panda bears on Saturday.

Chengdu is the largest city in China ’s Sichuan Province with nearly 11 million inhabitants, making it one of the top five population cities inside the most populous country on earth.

King was greeted by Mayor Ge Honglin who gave King a copy of a local newspaper that chronicled King’s visit the day before to nearby city Dujiangyan, which was one of the cities that suffered most from a May 12 earthquake that claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced an additional 1.5 million people, the epicenter of which was 57 miles from Chengdu.

“We have had many people visit us but none more passionate and who understand as much as you do about Chinese history, Mr. King,” Honglin said. “You are one of the most enthusiastic persons I have ever met.

“You can deliver the information about Chengdu to the world,” Honglin said to King, referring to his city’s and the Chinese national government’s response after the quake, the epicenter of which was 57 miles from this Sichuan Province capital.

“Many people feared there would be the spread of disease after the devastation but we were able to contain it,” Honglin said. “Many of the patients have been released from the hospitals and all have been treated free of charge.”

Honglin also told King that the city’s impressive agricultural irrigation system that was developed 2,600 years ago is still in service and doing its job well.

King invited Honglin to the boxing event he had been planning in Chengdu prior to the temblor, which has now been scheduled for Nov. 7 at the Sichuan Gymnasium arena.

The American also autographed pictures of himself posed during a 2001 visit to Beijing’s Tiananmen Square for the mayor and members of his staff including Vice Mayor Fu Yonglin, who helped to minimize health issues and bring services to the people after the quake; Mayor Assistant Mao Zhixiong; Vice Secretary-General Yang Xiaoying; Director of Foreign Affairs Qiu Haiming; and Sports Bureau Director Quin Wenlin.

King ventured to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a park where visitors can view the rare bears in captivity.

Shortly after King’s arrival, he was outfitted with a plastic poncho and gloves before being told to sit in a special chair. Moments later a one-year-old giant panda cub, Shan Ping, was whisked by zoo workers into his arms. A large media contingent present for King’s appearance documented the visit.

“The giant pandas symbolize life,” King said. “They are black and white and they live in harmony. Anyone who has listened to Bach, Beethoven or any great composer knows that you need white and black keys to make beautiful music. That’s why the panda bear is so unique and rare. Black and white as well as red panda bears live together harmoniously.

“If we as people would take the leap they show us in nature—working together works—people would be better off. I’m no president, and I hold no elective office, but I have the office of the people’s hearts and I care about them.”

King later toured a nursery for just-born panda cubs and a habitat designed for red pandas, which strongly resemble raccoons with red coloring. They, like giant pandas, are rare and endangered.

King will culminate his China visit this weekend and plans to return to his office in Florida on Monday.

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Alan Hopper

Don King Productions

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