By Victor Gotevbe & Ikenna Asomba
The Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos, Chao Xiaoliang, has said that the year 2017 witnessed fruitfulness in the China-Nigerian friendship, saying that the cooperation between both countries is flourishing, especially in the fields of politics, trade, infrastructure development, IT, agriculture and culture.
Speaking at the recently held Chinese Lunar New Year at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, Xiaoliang, stated that a large number of cooperative projects vigorously promoted by both countries, include the Mambilla Power Project, Lekki Deep Seaport, Lagos-Calabar coastal railway line, among others, noting that the bilateral trade between both countries reached $13.78 billion with 30 per cent year on year growth.
Meanwhile, present at the event were the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Amb. Zhou Pingjian; Governor Ayodele Fayose of Lagos State; Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, represented by Professor Ademola Abass; Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe; Military Airport Commandant, Group Captain Francis Ankeli; Head of Department, Protocol, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Moses Akeke; members of the Consular Corps, academics, politicians, media practitioners, among others.
In his address, Chao Xiaoliang said: “Today, we are gathered here together to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New year, the year of dog. On the occasion of the New Year, on behalf of the Consulate General of China in Lagos, I would like to begin with my best wishes to my fellow Chinese and my dear Nigerian friends, and all the distinguished guests, wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.
“Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival , or simply the Chinese Lunar New Year, is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunar Chinese calendar which had been running for over 4000 years. It is the grandest traditional festival in China, also an important symbol of Chinese culture.During the Chinese New Year, families gather together, yearning for a better life, bidding farewell to the old year and ushering in the new.
“The year 2017 is a landmark year for China’s development. The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was successfully convened, it gave shape to the thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, opened a new journey of developing China into a great modern socialist country that is strong, prosperous, democratic, culturally advanced, and harmonious.
“With the guidance of innovation, coordination, green, openness and sharing, and great efforts of the people and the government, China’s GDP grew by 6.9% in 2017 to more than 82 trillion yuan (equivalent to 12.76 trillion US dollars), contributed one third of total world growth. China firmly safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests as well as regional stability and world peace, actively participate in the building of global governance system and strive to contribute Chinese wisdom to the improvement of global governance.
“We successfully held the Belt and Road forum for International Cooperation and the 9th BRICS Summit. President Xi Jinping delivered the idea of building of a community with a shared future for mankind to the world, mapped out a blueprint for prosperity of human society.”
According to him, “The year 2017 also witnessed a fruitful year of China Nigerian friendship. The cooperation between the two countries is flourishing, especially in the fields of politics, trade, infrastructure development, IT, agriculture and culture. China’s foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Nigeria and was warmly received by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“A large number of cooperative projects are vigorously promoted by both sides, such as Mambilla Power Project, Lekki Deep Seaport, Lagos-Calabar coastal railway line, etc. The bilateral trade reached 13.78 billion US dollars with 30% year on year growth.People to people exchanges and cultural exchange programs are growing rapidly. These achievements cannot be made without the efforts of our Nigerian friends, the Chinese community and enterprises in Nigeria.
“The year 2018 marks the first year of fully implementing the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up.In the mean time, China- African Cooperation Forum will be hold in China, I’m confident that China Nigeria relation will embrace greater opportunities. 7 days later will be the 47th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Nigeria, let’s join hand together, seize the opportunities, deepen cooperation in all fields, and enhance the China -Nigeria strategic partnership.
“Last but not the least, I want to say a few words to my fellow Chinese: Your practical efforts and contributions are crucial to the development of our motherland and China Nigeria relationship. Me and my colleagues will always bear in mind that “Diplomacy for the people” is our consistent purpose and original mission, we will continue to build overseas livelihood projects to protect the legitimate rights and interests, as well as life and property security of overseas Chinese people and enterprises.”
The Chinese New Year is the first day of the New Year in the Chinese Calendar which differs from the Gregorian Calendar. It is also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar Year and starts on Friday, February 16, 2018. The date fluctuates, from a Western perspective, but comes in either January or February.
Each Chinese New Year is designated as “the year of“ one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac or shengxiao (‘born resembling’), which animal is supposed to depict that year and all those born in it. Therefore, it is a repeating cycle of 12 years, with each year being represented by an animal and its reputed attributes.
Conventionally, these zodiac animals were used to date the years. Sequentially, the 12 animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. Each year is associated with a zodiac animal. 2017 was the year of the Rooster but 2018 is the year of the Dog.