Panda death in Thailand sparks outrage in China

China is sending a team of experts to Thailand - after the death of one of its panda diplomats sparked outrage on social media.

Chuang Chuang died in a Thai zoo on Monday (September 16).

Chinese social media lit up with outrage at the unexpected death, with a hashtag drawing in 250 million views on Weibo.

One user said 'Thailand is so evil... we shouldn't be renting out pandas after this!'

Beijing has been engaged in what's often dubbed panda diplomacy since the 1950s.

Using their iconic bears as signs of goodwill across the world.

President Xi recently presented Russia's president Putin with two furry ambassadors in Moscow.

In France, President Macron's wife was named godmother of a feisty young cub back in 2017.

Now Chinese Weibo users are saying 'no more pandas for Thailand'.

Zoo staff held a moment of silence ahead of a news conference on Tuesday (September 17).

One zookeeper said the staff loved and nurtured Chuang Chuang, and hopes everyone will miss him like they do.

The cause of his death is still unknown.

The zoo says they can't perform an autopsy on the 19-year-old until the Chinese authorities arrive on Thursday (September 19).

Pandas generally live around 14 to 20 years in the wild, and up to 30 in captivity - according to the WWF.