China's national flower not decided yet after 30-year debate

The government of China has postponed a decision to name peony as its "national flower." The choice has been discussed for 30 years with the flower as a primary candidate.

The government has mulled the choice of the national symbol based on the result of a nationwide poll conducted in 1994.

But the country's National Forestry and Grassland Administration announced on Tuesday that it postponed the decision this year, saying there are still large differences in opinions and the time to decide is not yet ripe.

In a 2019 poll held by a government-related association, peony won nearly 80 percent of votes. Plum flower, orchid and lotus have also been mulled by the government.

Peony is regarded as a luxury flower in China. There have been social media posts opposing its possible choice, such as one comment saying the flower is very expensive and cannot represent Chinese people in general.

Plum blossom was designated as a national flower under the rule of the Kuomintang party, which then lost to the Communist Party in the civil war and fled to Taiwan.

Observers say the government has been cautious about designating its national flower given the complicated situation the country is facing, such as people's discontent with the gap between rich and poor as well as issues over Taiwan.