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China Media Group hosts “Prelude to Lunar New Year Gala” in NYC

China Media Group hosts “Prelude to Lunar New Year Gala” in NYC

CGTN – Hundreds of dignitaries gathered in New York for the “Prelude to Lunar New Year Gala,” hosted by China Media Group and supported by the Permanent Mission of China to the UN and the Consulate General of China in New York.

It took place Friday night, Jan. 26, at Cipriani, a historic New York City landmark venue. The guests who celebrated the culture of the Lunar New Year included ambassadors, senior UN officials, business and community leaders, and artists.

2024 is the Year of Loong (Dragon). The Lunar New Year will begin on February 10, 2024.

Shen Haixiong, president and editor-in-chief of China Media Group, which broadcasts the gala, delivered a video speech to the event. He pointed out that the Lunar New Year, celebrated by one-fifth of the world’s population in various forms, is the most important traditional festival for the Chinese nation.

“Watching the Spring Festival Gala has become a New Year tradition for the Chinese people. The gala has been held for 41 consecutive years, bringing cheerful memories to generations of viewers,” he said.

Shen also highlighted what to expect from this year’s Spring Festival Gala: “We will promote a combination of ideas, art and technology, blending outstanding traditional Chinese culture with modern civilization, creating a cultural feast on the eve of the Spring Festival with warmth and joy.”

In the Year of Loong, China will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its founding. Shen said China Media Group has promised to contribute greater efforts to promoting cultural and people-to-people exchanges among nations and advancing the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Zhang Jun, permanent representative of China to the United Nations, emphasized in his speech that the Lunar New Year originated in China but is now celebrated around the world, and many countries and regions have made it a public holiday. Zhang hailed the UN’s move to designate the Lunar New Year as a United Nations floating holiday, saying that this has further affirmed the global significance of the festival and will help more people to gain a better understanding of China, the Chinese people and Chinese culture.

“Facing mounting challenges in today’s world, I believe that in the new year, the spirit of the dragon will bring us greater unity, greater strength, and greater dynamics, and inject new impetus and new vitality into our life. Together, we can better tackle the challenges in today’s world. Together, we can bring peace to our world and to make life easier and more fulfilling for all,” Zhang said.

Miguel Ángel Moratinos, high representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations, also delivered remarks, calling on everyone to get inspired by the spirit of the dragon to work together in the new year to promote the common good for humanity and address global challenges, noting that the dragon symbolizes strength, courage and wisdom, qualities the world needs while facing unprecedented crises.

“I want to thank China and the Chinese people for your commitment to the work of the United Nations, including strengthening inter-religious and intercultural dialogue to promote cultural diversity, inclusive societies, and mutual respect,” he said.

Stephen Orlins, president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, noted that China-U.S. relations had some difficulty last year. But he added, “Towards the end of the year, our two leaders met in San Francisco and put the U.S.-China relationship back on the track to benefit the Chinese and American people. To have further improvements, our two countries need to act in the spirit of the dragon with courage and strength. And if we do, if all of us do together, the Year of the Dragon will be a year of peace, prosperity and vitality.”

New York City is home to the biggest Chinese population outside of Asia. This year, public school students across New York state will enjoy a day off to celebrate Lunar New Year for the first time.

Mayor Eric Adams also represented the city at the event. He said he hopes diverse cultures, particularly those celebrating the Lunar New Year, will bring more vitality to the city.

Huang Ping, Chinese consul general in New York, said that the Spring Festival is the most important and time-honored festival in the Chinese tradition. He said it’s all about home, hope and happiness, and those are shared values for everyone. He hoped that in the Year of the Dragon, China and the U.S. can work together to enhance people-to-people exchanges and enlarge common interests so as to bring the San Francisco vision reached by Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden all together.

Under-Secretary-General for UN Economic and Social Affairs Li Junhua, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNDP Associate Administrator Xu Haoliang, and ambassadors and senior diplomats from countries including the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cuba, Nicaragua, Mauritius, United States, Japan, and Poland were among the guests.

The “Prelude to Lunar New Year Gala” event offered a cultural feast for attendees, aiming to promote diversity, mutual understanding, peace and harmony. Artists presented live music, singing, dancing, and a fashion show, all to bring hope and energy to a new year.

Su Shishu, a famous Chinese calligrapher, wrote the title of the gala in three fonts, showcasing the charm of Chinese calligraphy.

Attendees conveyed their joy in being part of the event. Ambassador Sofian Akmal Abd Karim from Malaysia said the Lunar New Year is a time to enjoy happy moments with family and friends. He said the event brings a festive atmosphere with captivating live performances. He extended his warm wishes to everyone for a joyful Lunar New Year.

Peter Walker, senior partner emeritus at McKinsey and Company, said he was very happy to celebrate and welcome the Year of the Dragon with the Chinese people. The event has brought joy to everyone, he said, adding that there is a collective hope for better China-U.S. relations in the coming year.

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