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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Lin Songtian of China to South Africa at the Opening Ceremony of the Chinese Lantern Festival Carnival

3 March 2018

Distinguished guests and Dear Friends Present here and to be here with us,

members of the delegation from Chengdu, China,

and my all my Fellow Chinese,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Happy Chinese New Year!

Yesterday was the traditional Chinese Lantern Festival. It is a great pleasure that on this festive occasion, both South African and Chinese friends are gathered here to celebrate the Chinese Lantern Festival, and to celebrate the 20th anniversary of China-South Africa diplomatic ties. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, I wish to extend our warmest welcome to all you. I also wish to express our heartfelt appreciation to all peoples from both China and South Africa, who have been working tirelessly to make this carnival possible today. Thank you so much.

The Lantern Festival is an important traditional festival in the Chinese culture, which falls on the 15th of the first month in Chinese lunar calendar. In this evening, all the Chinese family gather together to view the first full moon in a new year , eat rice dumplings and enjoy family union. People in China last night got out of their home and enjoyed lanterns, fireworks, lion and dragon dances. For the Chinese people, the Lantern Festival marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations and the new beginning of a new year’s business. As we gather here today, we wish to share with our South African friends the joy of the festival, to renew our friendship, to celebrate the great achievements of 20 years of China-South Africa diplomatic ties, to appreciate all the friends here or not whoever made contributions to our relations, and to jointly look forward to the bright future of China-South Africa relations.

The Chinese Lantern Festival carnival is jointly organized by the Chinese Embassy and the Chinese Community in South Africa. After several months of preparation, the Chinese Lantern Festival carnival will be here for two days. It is our hope that our South African friends will have the opportunity to enjoy typical Chinese cultural performances and Chinese food. I believe all of you will like it.

We are very happy and fortunate to be joined by artists and chefs from Chengdu, China. Chengdu is the home of the Sichuan-style spicy food and the home to the Chinese giant pandas that friends in the world love. I am very confident that our artists’ and chef’s performances and food will give our South African friends a better feel and understanding of the immensely diverse and colorful Chinese culture and cuisine.

Today, I am also very pleased to announce that we will not only come here to celebrate the Festival, but also to come here together with our South African friends to say NO loudly to pouching and illegal trading of wildlife products. Therefore, there will be a charity sale for wildlife protection during the carnival. All of the goods being sold are donated by the Chinese community and the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, to show our commitment and strong support of the Chinese government and people for South Africa’s efforts in wildlife protection, and to demonstrate our common aspiration for harmonious development between man and nature. It is our sincere hope that the charity will raise 200,000 Rand in the next two days, and donate all the fund to the Kruger National Park for wildlife protection. We hope that all of you could actively support the charity sale, while you share the joy of food and shopping, you are also contributing your own share to South Africa’s wildlife protection.

To conclude, I wish the carnival a full success, and wish all of you a Happy Chinese Lantern Festival!

Thank you!

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