Ambassador: 2012 will be a memorable year in the history of China and Britain relations

Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Chinese New Year Celebrations in London

Trafalgar Square, 29 January 2012


Mayor Boris Johnson,

Lord Mayor Susie Burbridge,

Mr. Chu Ting Tang,

Mr. Stanley Tse,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

I extend very warm Chinese New Year greetings to you all on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in the UK.

The Chinese New Year or Spring Festival has been the most important time in the Chinese calendar for over two thousand years.

In the past decade the celebration of Spring Festival has spread far beyond China’s borders.

This means that what matters so much to the Chinese people is gaining wider popularity around the world.

That is happening as the Chinese values of Spring Festival have universal appeal:

· Spring Festival is when we reunite with our families.

· It is in our nature to mark the end of one year and the beginning of another.

· From the cold and dark of winter it is natural to anticipate the light, warmth and blooming of spring.

· It is a time to look to the future with joy and optimism.

· For us Chinese people it is also a time when our culture celebrates the harmony between man and nature.

· And for all people of the world there is a strong eagerness for a happy celebration and for great personal fortune in the New Year.

With these shared values of Spring Festival, it is my strong wish that this will help the British people gain deeper understanding of China, its people and its culture.

Across Britain there are many Spring Festival celebrations like this one here in Trafalgar Square.

Today, this is the 11th year that Spring Festival is coming to Trafalgar Square.

This year I am delighted we are joined by performers from the Chinese Culture Ensemble and the Happy Spring Festival Ensemble. They have come all the way from China.

Together with Chinese artists from Britain they will entertain us with a brilliant performance shortly.

2012 will be a memorable year in the history of China and Britain relations:

· Together, our two countries will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the full diplomatic relations.

· London will follow Beijing and host the Olympic Games.

This gathering in London today is a symbol of our shared will to deepen exchanges and understanding.

Our meeting today is made possible by the Greater London Authority. Also key to this event is the City of Westminster and the London Chinatown Chinese Association. I want to thank them all most warmly for their 11 years of commitment and support to this event and to relations between China and the UK.

2012 is the Year of the Dragon. In China, the dragon is a symbol of bumper harvest.

The word ‘dragon’ in Chinese is pronounced ‘龙’, which is similar to the English word ‘LONG’. Coincidently, ‘dragon’ also carries the positive meaning of longevity and harmony.

Therefore, may I wish all of you good health and every success in the Year of the Dragon!

May China and Britain enjoy greater prosperity and our people a better life!

May China-UK relations enjoy dynamic growth and our people a long-lasting friendship!

Thank you!

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