FOR YEARS, Madrileños in search of exceptional dim sum and duck have gone to Usera, a diverse neighborhood that functions as the cities unofficial Chinatown. Over time, all kinds of businesses with have flourished in the area, from Cantonese-style bakeries and hair salons to supermarkets and car repair shops.
The links between the city of Madrid and its ever-growing Chinese community became even stronger back in November 2022, when this statue dedicated to the panda bear was unveiled in Usera. While the Estatua de Oso Panda is not Madrid’s first bear statue—El Oso y el Madroño (The Bear and the Strawberry Tree) remains quite popular—it quickly earned a place in the hears of locals.
The statue, which declares the panda bear as a messenger of peace, has become a symbol of the union between Usera and the Chinese diaspora community, which has been thriving for more than 30 years in this area. From the moment the statue was unveiled there was an element of controversy amongst some locals since the peace messages on the statue’s pedestal were written only in English and Chinese and not in Spanish.