Archive for ‘chinese new year’

13/02/2019

China, UK should handle differences properly, enhance strategic mutual trust: Ambassador

LONDON, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) — China and UK should keep the long-term interests and larger picture in mind, look at each other’s development as opportunities, respect each other’s sovereignty, security and right to development, handle our differences properly and enhance strategic mutual trust, Chinese Ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming has said.

The Chinese diplomat made the remarks while attending the Chinese New Year Dinner by the Cities of London and Westminster Conservative Association on Monday night.

“If we compare China-UK relations to a building, it could not stand tall without a solid foundation. This foundation is the mutual confidence between our two countries,” he said.

Recalling that the world economy is under downward pressure, with surging protectionism and unilateralism making things doubly difficult. Against this situation, Liu said it is all the more important that China and the UK advocate free trade, oppose protectionism and promote open cooperation.

“We hope that the UK would continue to provide a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies. We hope you will make successful Chinese companies such as Huawei feel welcome here in Britain, and convince them that the UK is a trustworthy place to put their money,” said the Chinese ambassador.

Liu said both China and the UK are known for their profound cultural heritage and important contribution to the progress of human civilization.

“I hope that in the new year our two countries will continue to enhance cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and deepen mutual understanding and strengthen friendship.”

The ambassador also hoped that people from all walks of life in both China and UK will join hands to cement the foundation for a solid and magnificent edifice of bilateral relations.

British Prime Minister Theresa May sent a congratulatory message to the event, saying that it is an important moment to recognize the contribution of the Chinese community in London and across the whole of the United Kingdom.

“The Chinese community’s expanding business expertise, scientific inquiry and cultural heritage and traditions are of immense value to our country – not least here in London, where the vibrancy of Chinatown stands as a strong beacon for the Chinese community and a reminder of all that they have contributed to our society,” she said.

Source: Xinhua

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10/02/2019

Ancient northern town welcomes overseas students to celebrate Chinese New Year

TAIYUAN, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) — More than 100 overseas students have been invited to an ancient town in north China’s Shanxi Province to join celebrations for Chinese New Year (Spring Festival), which falls on Feb. 5.

“An opening Pingyao welcomes you” is the celebration of the ancient town of Pingyao, running from Jan. 28 to Feb. 20. More than 100 students across the world participated in the opening ceremony on Jan. 28.

The students took part in celebrations, watching traditional performances, such as opera, acrobatics and magic shows, joining in the Spring Festival Gala, lantern shows, cultural exhibitions, and learning about the local customs.

Farhad Farzad, an Afghan student studying Chinese in a university in the city of Taiyuan, Shanxi’s capital, said it was the first time for him to celebrate Spring Festival. He wrote “happy new year” in Chinese with a writing brush.

Chisom Nwosu, from Nigeria, said that the festival atmosphere in Pingyao was jubilant and the performances were great. It was her chance to gain a better understanding of traditional Chinese folk culture.

Pingyao became a UNESCO world cultural heritage in 1997. It is famous for its well-preserved ancient city walls.

In the 1980s, there were rarely foreign visitors in Pingyao. However, the figure soared to 115,000 last year. The ancient town has received more than 1.5 million foreign tourists since 1997.

Source: Xinhua

08/02/2019

Spotlight: Chinese New Year celebrations delight other side of the Pacific

NEW YORK, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) — While Chinese New Year celebrations are in full swing in China, cultural activities held across North America to mark the most important festival of China are no less enthralling, spreading the joy to the other side of the Pacific.

Dragon and lion dances, Chinese cuisines, Peking opera performances, light shows… a flurry of events in the United States and Canada have deepened people’s understanding of the meaning and charm of the festival. And sometimes, they may even find themselves a bit richer when they are bestowed with red packets of “lucky money,” part of the festival tradition.

A FEAST FOR EYES AND PALATES

Chinese Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, fell on Feb. 5 this year. In China, celebrations begin about a week in advance and end with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the new year. It is an occasion for family members to reunite, bid farewell to the past year and celebrate the advent of a new spring, with its promise of renewal and hope.

The value placed in family and the universal wish for a new start partly explain why the traditional Chinese festival can so easily transcend borders and be embraced elsewhere. For kids who are not worldly enough to grasp the significance behind it, colorful events such as dragon dances and delicious Chinese food prove to be reason enough to enjoy the festival.

In New York, the landmark Empire State Building was glowing red, blue and yellow on Monday and Tuesday for the Chinese New Year. It is for the 19th consecutive year that the 443-meter skyscraper above midtown Manhattan shone in honor of the Chinese New Year.

The light show event will allow “native New Yorkers to experience a bit of beauty of the Chinese traditional cultural festival,” said Chinese Consul General in New York Huang Ping.

In Times Square, an array of calligraphers from both China and the United States on Tuesday gave away their handwritings of “Fu,” a Chinese character meaning fortune and luck, and red scarfs printed with the same character to hundreds of visitors at the “Crossroad of the World.” Receivers of the gifts, upon learning the meaning of Fu character, were filled with joy and expressed their best wishes to the Chinese people around the world.

During an NBA game at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, spectators enjoyed dragon and lion dances during halftime. They also received giveaways including red packets as well as pig dolls as the New York Knicks team celebrated the Chinese lunar Year of the Pig. A spectator won 600 U.S. dollars during a game called ‘Name the Pig.’

In Chicago, more than 70 guests crowded a Chinese restaurant on Monday to enjoy traditional Chinese cuisine and the legendary “face-changing” performance. Performers of “face-changing” instantly switched masks by raising a hand, swinging a sleeve or tossing the head, to the thunderous applause and cheers from the audience.

“It is amazing and exciting. I have never seen it before,” Rhonda McDonald, who came from the U.S. city of Houston to attend the celebration, told Xinhua, “I love Chinese food and Chinese culture. Every year, my kids and I celebrate the Chinese New Year.”

In San Francisco, Mayor London Breed, dressed in red that represents happiness and good luck in Chinese culture, on Tuesday launched official celebrations of Chinese New Year in the city’s Chinatown.

Among the crowd, a 15-year-old high school student named Logan said he was happy to be a part of the exciting celebrations, and he came for the event every year.

“Each new year is different, and I can always feel something new from the thrilling festivities,” Logan said.

Breed said that there will be a market fair this week in Chinatown, where one can find flowers and goodies, such as red packets for kids and oranges which in Chinese are a popular symbol for “good luck.” She will also attend San Francisco’s grand Chinese New Year Parade scheduled for Feb. 23, a Chinatown tradition that dates back to the 1860s.

The parade will feature beautiful floats, outfits, costumes, firecrackers, newly crowned Miss Chinatown U.S.A, as well as the dance performance of an 88-meter-long golden dragon operated by 180 men and women from a local martial arts group.

The Niagara Falls on Canada side was lit up in red to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Ontario, Canada on Tuesday. On the night of Jan. 28, the CN Tower in Toronto was lit up in red to celebrate the Chinese New Year, the fifth consecutive year to do so.

A FESTIVAL FOR CLOSER TIES

By celebrating the Chinese New Year together, people from both sides of the Pacific have deepened their understanding of each other’s cultures and made the ties closer, officials have said.

“There is no better way than to celebrate the Chinese New Year through cultural exchanges,” said David Whitaker, CEO of Choose Chicago, the official tourism organization for the city, on Tuesday as the city kick off Chinese New Year celebrations.

“The more we learn about China, the better we understand each other,” Whitaker told Xinhua.

During a show titled “Charming Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei” featuring Chinese artists performing folk music, Tai Chi, Peking opera, acrobatic and martial arts, on Jan. 25, Vice Mayor of Beverly Hills John Mirisch said his city enjoys a great relationship with China.

“We welcome the Chinese, and think sharing some of their interesting cultural experiences with American audiences right here in Beverly Hills makes us understand and appreciate each other more.”

The Empire State Building’s lighting of Lunar New Year serves as a symbol of friendship between the peoples of the United States and China, said Huang, the consul general.

After putting a Chinese couplet on the door of the governor’s office at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri Governor Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson held a Chinese Lunar New Year reception at their mansion on Monday evening.

“I truly appreciate how the Asian American community has come from across the state to Jefferson City to celebrate the Lunar New Year in the Missouri State Capitol. We’re excited to have this opportunity to share the diversity and cultural traditions of all Missouri,” Parson said. “Rest assured that we will continue to lead the state with a noble vision and an open heart.”

Source: Xinhua

06/02/2019

Xinhua Headlines: Chinese New Year celebrations touch hearts around world

Xinhua Headlines: Chinese New Year celebrations touch hearts around world

Lion dance is performed during the 2019 Spring Festival parade in downtown Antwerp, Belgium, on Feb. 2, 2019. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong)

BEIJING, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) — For centuries, the Lunar New Year has been the most important festival in China and a large part of Asia. People leave behind the worries and troubles of the past year and move on to a new spring full of hope and life.

Today, the festival has become a worldwide holiday as China plays a bigger role in world affairs and people all around the world share the wish to leave uncertainties behind and usher in a peaceful and prosperous year ahead. As the Chinese New Year falls on Tuesday, major cities across the globe are vying to hold the greatest celebration of this traditional festival outside China.

YEAR OF PIG

Tuesday marks the first day of the Year of the Pig in the Chinese Zodiac. The Chinese Zodiac is based on a twelve-year cycle, and each year in that cycle is under a certain animal sign. It is believed people are born with the positive traits of their zodiacs. For example, babies born in this Year of the Pig are expected to be kind and fortunate.

Peppa, the sweet little piglet from a British animated TV series, has become a media sensation in this Year of the Pig. A nationwide cinema release, “Peppa Celebrates Chinese New Year,” co-produced by Alibaba Pictures, debuted in China on Tuesday. Its promotional video named “What’s Peppa” went viral and clocked some 1.5 billion hits on Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo and Wechat.

“Peppa is the perfect ambassador for the Year of the Pig celebrations as it is the most iconic pig on screen,” said Oliver Dumont, president, Family & Brands, of the leading Canadian entertainment conglomerate Entertainment One (eOne), which owns Peppa Pig and is a co-producer of the movie.

Other than the Chinese film, a two-part episode special of Peppa Pig has been created specifically for the Chinese New Year. “This is a great opportunity to promote and share the Chinese language and culture all around the world,” Dumont said.

In the movie and TV episode, Peppa learns what the Chinese New Year is about and experiences many of its traditions with her family, teaching dozens of millions of fans about Chinese culture.

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the most important festival in China. Celebrations begin about a week in advance and end with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the new year. Receiving red packets of “lucky money,” having big family meals and welcoming the God of Wealth with deafening firecrackers are among the many highlights of the festivities.

WORLDWIDE PARTY

For other parts of the world, the Chinese New Year has become a great occasion to enjoy exotic food, culture and to party. Organizers in cities around the world are racking their brains vying to stage the most brilliant celebration outside China.

–In London

The Science Museum of Britain celebrated the Chinese New Year by hosting exhibitions on science development in China. While enjoying Chinese delicacies and new year traditions, visitors experienced ancient Chinese inventions through augmented reality glasses, learned about Chinese fossils and watched presentations on the recent development of Chinese space technology.

Aleksandar Zivanovic, an engineer and regular visitor of the museum, found the European Space Agency’s introduction of the Chinese space program most fascinating. “It’s a nice way to celebrate the Chinese New Year, and a good way to find out about Chinese culture and what’s going on in Chinese science,” he said.

Celebrations in London will last a month with a series of activities culminating in the Trafalgar Square parade on Feb. 10, which organizers say to be the biggest Chinese New Year celebration outside Asia.

–In Sydney

Sydney’s signature Harbor Bridge is glowing red and pink to provide a breathtaking setting for the Chinese New Year celebrations.

A spectacular 5-meter-tall matrix-style steel pig lantern glows by the landmark Sydney Opera House. Another 11 giant lanterns representing the remaining zodiac animals, including an elaborate eight-meter stack of monkeys, an electric sheep and a six-meter-tall inflatable ox, light up the Sydney Harbor.

Sydney has been celebrating the lunar new year for 22 years. This year’s events will include the lunar lanterns exhibition, Chinatown celebrations, community performances, dragon boat races and lion dances across the city. “It’s a celebration for our Asian community, but it’s a wonderful educational experience for the rest of us,” Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore said.

–In New York

The Empire State Building, landmark of Manhattan, New York, is glowing red, blue and yellow Monday for the Chinese New Year.

A window display featuring pigs in a traditional Chinese style has also been installed in the building’s lobby windows on Fifth Avenue. Visitors can appreciate pigs as portrayed in various art forms, including clay sculptures, paper cuts, sugar-figure blowing and lanterns.

It is for the 19th consecutive year that the Empire State Building, standing 443 meters above midtown Manhattan, shines in honor of the Chinese New Year.

New York is also known around the world for the splendid firecracker shows that light up the Hudson River and parts of the city during Chinese New Year celebrations.

New York and some other U.S. states have made the lunar new year a public holiday. This is particularly unusual given that the Chinese New Year does not have a set date on the Gregorian calendar. Instead, it falls on a day between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20 each year.

In addition to being widely celebrated across the globe, the lunar new year is also a public holiday and important national festival in many countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia and South Korea.

The Chinese New Year has become an international event as its traditions and values touch the hearts of people all around the world. As Chinese President Xi Jinping has said, the vision, concepts and values of China’s traditional culture are also valuable for addressing the issues that humanity faces.

BEST WISHES FROM WORLD LEADERS

The Chinese New Year also offers an opportunity for foreign leaders to extend best wishes to the Chinese people, seeking closer ties with China, attracting Chinese tourists and consolidating support from Chinese communities.

For example, in a congratulatory video speech, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke Chinese to wish the Chinese people a happy new year. He pledged to relax visa policies for Chinese students studying in Japan and called for more people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. Abe also expressed the wish that bilateral ties further improve in the new year.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern posted her lunar new year’s wishes on social media. She took the opportunity to thank the Chinese community in New Zealand for its hard work and contributions. Ardern expressed the hope to strengthen ties with China, boosting cooperation in trade, education and tourism.

Pakistani President Arif Alvi, President of Argentina Mauricio Macri, President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and other world leaders also sent videos or messages to wish the Chinese people a happy lunar new year.

Source: Xinhua

03/02/2017

Something to Crow About: Ivanka Trump Visits Chinese New Year Party – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Chinese social media lit up Thursday over an appearance by Ivanka Trump and her daughter at a Lunar New Year celebration at Beijing’s embassy in Washington.

Photos and video went viral, showing Ms. Trump and 5-year-old Arabella being hosted at the Wednesday night event by China’s ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai. On the Chinese microblogging site Weibo, the term #Trump’sDaughterVisitsChina’sEmbassy in Chinese quickly zoomed up to become the seventh most-searched item on Thursday.

Just as remarked, however, was the lack so far of Year of the Rooster wishes from President Trump.

“Trump’s daughter visits China’s embassy and wishes China a happy New Year! The daughter understands more than the father,” one Weibo user said.

The Lunar New Year — the most important holiday in China — is celebrated in several countries across Asia and by Chinese around the world. It has become an occasion for global leaders to offer up well wishes. In 2015, British royal Prince William wished China a happy Year of the Sheep in Mandarin in a video televised across the nation. When they were presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama issued Lunar New Year messages.

As the start of the Year of the Rooster officially came and went over the weekend, Chinese media noted the conspicuous absence of a similar tribute from Mr. Trump.

“Her father, the new U.S. president, has broken the tradition of sending New Year greetings to people of Chinese origin in the U.S. during their most important festival,” a China Daily slideshow of photos featuring Ms. Trump noted.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some social media posts gave Mr. Trump the benefit of the doubt, saying the lack of new year’s greetings may not have been a deliberate snub, but the work of his advisers. Mr. Trump has vowed to get tough with China over its trade and currency policies, and his advisers have called for countering Chinese actions in the South China Sea with a naval blockade.

“To be honest, I think that Trump really maybe just forgot. He’s surrounded by anti-China people. There wouldn’t be anyone to remind him,” wrote another Weibo user. “Now it’s already too late, and to wish happy New Year under pressure from the media would mean losing face, right? So he just lets his daughter make an appearance.”

Video from the Chinese Embassy function featured Arabella and her mother being shown rooster paper cutouts and art made from melted sugar, as well as posing with costumed Chinese opera performers.

Arabella has previously endeared herself to the Chinese public after a video of her reciting Chinese poetry was widely circulated last year. On Thursday, social media users further amused themselves by analyzing her less-than-enthusiastic facial expressions captured at the embassy’s event. “She looks like I do when I don’t want to visit my relatives,” ran one.

“It looks like she’s angling for yasuiqian,” wrote another, referring to the red envelopes tucked with cash traditionally handed out to children over the holiday.

While Mr. Trump may have yet to formally extend his well wishes for the holiday Year of the Rooster, he has in other ways inspired the Year of the Rooster in China. A shopping mall in the central city of Taiyuan put up a large rooster sculpture with a Trump-like hairstyle in central China, inspiring balloons of similar design.

Source: Something to Crow About: Ivanka Trump Visits Chinese New Year Party – China Real Time Report – WSJ

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