Alan Joyce (left) and a southern Chinese Lion

Qantas group CEO Alan Joyce wasted no time alluding to the Trans Pacific Partnership or TPP controversy when he launched the relaunching of its Sydney-Beijing non-stop flights today, but there was a slight cultural glitch.

The photo used in the Qantas media release, and first issued last October, features the wrong Chinese Lion for the purposes of a daily A332 service to the north of China.

Mr Joyce is posed beside a Southern Chinese Lion, not a Northern Chinese Lion. They are different, as an authoritative but perforce anonymous China scholar and watcher pointed out in the comments to this post in Plane Talking when the relaunch was first announced last October 13.

I found Qantas press release today quite amusing: the photo accompany with the release with Alan Joyce with a Chinese Lion. However, that Lion is a Chinese Southern Lion type, not the Chinese Northern Lion I would expect if Qantas is trying to promote flights to Beijing. I hope Qantas do realise there are cultural differences between Northern and Southern China.

The Southern Chinese Lion has a single horn and a mirror on its head. The differences are defined and explained in more detail in this paper.

However, more to the ‘allusion’ to the whole free trade thing, which is more than horny in its own right, given that Australia’s enthusiasm for the TPP was based on pressure from the Obama administration to do deals that isolated or contained Beijing.  As well as screwing assorted Australian consumers when it came to matters involving copyright and patents and the bestowing of supra-national privileges on trans border US controlled enterprises.

Mr Joyce said:

“It’s the perfect time for Qantas to fly to Beijing. The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement is hitting its stride and China is on track to become the number one source of visitors to Australia within the next year or so,” said Mr Joyce.

“What’s really exciting is the potential we see for the future.  We now have the Qantas Group’s biggest ever network in Greater China, and our goal is to make our Beijing route a flagship corridor for tourism and trade.

“For Chinese travellers, our message is that there’s no better way of getting to know Australia than with the national carrier.  In the business market, this route gives our companies the ability to win new business and get their products and services into the market. And it’s a positive for the Australian travel industry.  So whichever way you look at it, this is a good news story.”

The full release from Qantas today can be read here, alongside the fetching photo of the wrong Chinese lion.

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