14 February 2021
Pretoria – The Chinese community in South Africa on Sunday celebrated the Chinese New lunar Year with a prestigious event hosted virtually by Ambassador Chen Xiaodong.
“Welcome to the “Happy Chinese New Year” virtual event and join us in the celebration of the Year of the Ox. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, I would like to extend my new year greetings to the Chinese community in South Africa, friends from the Chinese enterprises, teachers and students of Confucius Institutes, Chinese students studying in South Africa and friends from all walks of life in South Africa,” said Ambassador Chen.
The Ambassador said China was not spared with the challenges which other nations were facing in the year 2020, but amidst such challenges the country maintained strides economically and also putting the pandemic under control.
“The year 2020 was an extraordinary year. Facing the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese people, under the strong leadership of the CPC [Communist Party of China] central committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, united as one and took the lead in bringing the pandemic under control, and resuming work, production and economic growth. China GDP exceeded 100 trillion RMB for the first time in history, making it the only major economy in the world to achieve economic growth in 2020,” Xiadong said.
The Ambassador mentioned that China also managed to make breakthroughs scientifically, with the 13th Five Year Plan having been successfully accomplished.
“Major breakthroughs have been made in scientific explorations like the Tianwen-1 (Mars mission) and Chang’ e – 5 (lunar probe). The 13th Five Year Plan has been successfully accomplished and the 14th Five- Year Plan has been successfully formulated,” he said.
The top Chinese diplomat added that South Africa-China had grown under the leadership and guidance of the two presidents Xi Jinping and Ramaphosa.
“In 2020, under the personal guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Cyril Ramaphosa, China and South Africa, through anti-pandemic cooperation, have deepened political and strategic mutual trust, advanced practical cooperation in various fields, strengthened communication and coordination in international affairs and jointly upheld multilateralism and international fairness and justice. The comprehensive strategic partnership between our two countries has continued to grow in depth, giving strong impetus to building an even closer China- South Africa and China- Africa community with a shared future.”
Ambassador Xiadong said that the Chinese New Year is the most important traditional Chinese festival and it has been held in South Africa for the past nine years.
“The ‘Happy Chinese New Year’ event has been held in South Africa for nine consecutive years. It has become an increasingly popular event and an important platform for us to experience the festive atmosphere of the Chinese New Year. Due to the pandemic, the event goes virtual this year. We hope all of you join us online to renew friendship and usher in the Chinese New Year together,” he said.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane who also addressed the event said China and South Africa had enjoyed strong bi-lateral relations for over 20 years. She said South Africa hopes the relations that have grown between the China and South Africa will continue to flourish in various areas including trade, arts culture and tourism.
The year 2021 marks the Year of the Ox in Chinese astrology and begins from February 12, the first day of the Chinese New Year according to the Chinese zodiac.