Chinese welcome Year of Dragon with confidence amid nation’s growing intl prestige

China’s top leader as well as diplomats from around the world have extended greetings for the Chinese Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, to all Chinese people around the globe and also publicized, introduced and promoted Chinese culture to the world. 

Experts said that China played a constructive role for world peace and global recovery in 2023, and in the new year, or the Year of the Dragon (dragon, also known as “loong” in China), there is a lot more that needs to be done and China will continue cooperating and coordinating with its partners worldwide to further contribute to peace and development of mankind.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, on behalf of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council, extended Spring Festival greetings to all Chinese Thursday at a reception in Beijing, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday.

Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivered a speech at the gathering at the Great Hall of the People, greeting Chinese people of all ethnic groups, compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and overseas Chinese. This year’s Spring Festival falls on February 10.

“We actively support Hong Kong and Macao in better integrating into the overall situation of national development, firmly oppose separatist acts of ‘Taiwan independence’ and interference by external forces, and vigorously defend our country’s sovereignty, security and development interests,” Xi said.

Lauding China’s solid efforts on advancing major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, Xi said the country has added certainty and positive energy to a world of change and disorder, and demonstrated its sense of responsibility for building a community with a shared future for mankind.

As the totem of the Chinese nation, dragon is deemed strong, fearless and benevolent, Xi noted.

Xi highlighted that dragon not only embodies the spirit of ceaselessly pursuing self-improvement, hard work and enterprise of the Chinese nation for 5,000 years, but also demonstrates the determination and aspiration of hundreds of millions of Chinese people to build China into a strong country and realize national rejuvenation.

Xi expressed the hope that in the Year of the Dragon, all Chinese people will pioneer and forge ahead with great endeavor and dedication, collectively writing a new chapter in advancing Chinese modernization.

As the Chinese Lunar New Year approaches, a number of world leaders, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, extended their greetings to the Chinese people and communities, as this year’s festival will be the first since the UN General Assembly decided to list the Lunar New Year as a UN public holiday.

On Thursday, Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanged greetings of Chinese New Year over phone.

Xi said it has become a fine tradition for him and Putin to exchange greetings by the turn of the year, review the achievements of the development of bilateral relations, and jointly look forward to the future.

The abundance of good wishes not only reflected the influence of Chinese culture globally and its contribution to world peace and prosperity, but also showed the international community’s heightened expectations for future cooperation with China given its important role in global affairs, experts said.

The world has increasingly realized that China is probably the only major power that still stays away from conflict and upholds a neutral and fair stance on hot spot issues and multilateralism without bias. China is also one of the biggest world economies with great certainty, potential and resilience, and is the country with the strength and sincerity to improve and reform the world order, experts said. Also Chinese people nowadays are living all around the world, and all of this means China and Chinese culture are receiving greater respect and China is also becoming increasingly confident as it opens wider to the world, experts said.

This photo taken on Feb. 4, 2024 shows a booth selling Spring Festival decorations at the Chinatown in Jakarta, Indonesia. As the Chinese Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, approaches, the festive atmosphere gradually permeates the air of the Chinatown and many business districts in Jakarta.(Photo: Xinhua)

This photo taken on Feb. 4, 2024 shows a booth selling Spring Festival decorations at the Chinatown in Jakarta, Indonesia. As the Chinese Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, approaches, the festive atmosphere gradually permeates the air of the Chinatown and many business districts in Jakarta.(Photo: Xinhua)

Global influence

Chinese diplomats around the globe also arranged a series of activities to celebrate the Spring Festival to publicize the charm of Chinese culture, promote China’s international image and introduce China’s stance on global issues.

China’s permanent representative to the UN, Zhang Jun, said on Wednesday at a reception to celebrate the Year of the Dragon at the UN headquarters that “The year of the dragon is approaching. In Chinese culture, the dragon symbolizes justice, strength, courage, progress and auspiciousness, and is the spiritual symbol of the Chinese nation.”

“In the new year, the UN will embrace major agendas…The cause of international peace and development remains a long and arduous task. Even as we celebrate the Spring Festival, wars are still raging in some parts of the world. Many people are living in dire straits. The world is full of tension and anxiety,” Zhang noted.

“We are deeply saddened by this and deeply aware of our heavy responsibility and arduous mission. Global challenges call for global thinking, global cooperation and global action. I sincerely hope that the spirit of the dragon will inject strong impetus into the international community and make us more united and empowered to jointly tackle global challenges, seek common security, achieve common development and build a common future. On these fronts, China can always be relied upon,” said the ambassador.

Li Haidong, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Thursday that the Chinese Lunar New Year is always a good chance for China to promote, publicize and introduce Chinese culture and the image of the nation. “In 2023, China contributed a lot to world peace and security amid increasing turbulence around the globe, such as supporting the reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which started the trend of reconciliation among the Islamic countries in the Middle East.”

Analysts said the world is still in turbulence this year, as many major problems remain unsolved, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Ukraine crisis, and China will make its efforts with the international community to push for solutions to these crises.

The US presidential election and many other elections around the world will also bring uncertainties and changes to the world in turbulence. China will try its best to manage China-US relations, the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and try to prevent the Taiwan question and South China Sea issue from having a serious impact on regional peace and stability, experts noted.

“The overseas Chinese community has grown significantly in size, contributing to the increasing global influence of Chinese culture. Amid the diversity of cultures worldwide, the Spring Festival holds a prominent position,” said Zhang Yiwu, a professor of cultural studies at Peking University.

The Spring Festival also holds universal significance as it represents a celebration of spring and carries symbolic meaning, he said, noting that this is especially true for countries in the northern hemisphere. “The internationalization of the Spring Festival is a reflection of China’s growing influence on a global scale,” Zhang said.

Global Times

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