The Dragon is often associated with China, yet this is more true for western cultures than in China itself. The Chinese dragon is often connected to water. In fact, there are four Dragon kings that represent each of the four “seas.” The East China Sea, South China Sea, Lake Baikal, and the Indian Ocean.
Many Chinese associate the dragon with an aggressive relentless beast. This is not always the best impression to give in a business or trade environment, so China prefers to use the Giant Panda as its animal of choice.
Pandas, because of their rarity and peaceful nature, are considered a Chinese natural treasure. Recently they have been only given away as gifts of friendship. It became illegal to kill or capture a Panda after western cultures discovered them and hunted them all hardcore like.
The other big Chinese animal is the Tiger. The tiger is seen as the foe of the Dragon and more of a brute force animal than the strategic graceful Dragon. These characteristics are carried over into martial arts styles. I haven’t personally seen any dragon forms or stances yet, but when I do, I will confirm or deny this fact.