BEIJING, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- People around the globe celebrated Chinese New Year over the past week within Chinese communities and beyond. World leaders sent New Year messages to ethnic Chinese in various countries, and more non-Chinese joined the celebrations to get a closer look at Chinese culture.
THE UNITED NATIONS
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent a message to Xinhua last Tuesday from Ethiopia: "I extend my warmest wishes to the people of China on the occasion of the Year of the Rabbit. I wish them increased prosperity and well-being in the year to come as we continue to work together for global peace and sustainable development."
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak wishes all Chinese in the world a happy Chinese New Year last Thursday in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.
"I would like to wish all Chinese in the world, wherever they are at any part of the world, a very happy Chinese New Year through Xinhua News Agency," Najib said. "I hope that this new lunar calendar year, the year of the Rabbit, will bring much prosperity and will be a successful and productive year."
He then held a live teleconference with Malaysians living in seven cities in the world, including Guangzhou, China, and sent his greetings.
About 26 percent of Malaysia's 27 million population are ethnic Chinese.
In Singapore, a major Chinese New Year celebration, River Hongbao,kicked off Tuesday evening, which also included a specially commissioned short film, the Reunion Dinner. Directed by young local director Anthony Chen, the film has drawn applause from the audience who, like the hero of the film, have experienced the changing yet constant Chinese New Year celebrations as Singapore has grown from a third world country to a world-renowned cosmopolitan city state over the past decades.
In Cambodia, traditional Chinese lion and dragon dances were performed at the Royal Palace and the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh last Wednesday to celebrate the Spring Festival.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said recently that up to 80 percent of the Cambodian people celebrate the Lunar New Year, where some 700,000 Chinese descendants live in the country.
A Chinese monastery based in the famous birthplace of Lord Buddha Lumbini, south of Nepal, held a special program last Thursday celebrating the Chinese Spring Festival and praying for world peace. Government officials, religious gurus, academicians attended the event.
Shi Huaishan, abbot of the Chinese Monastery and deputy secretary-general of the Buddhist Association of China, prayed for world peace during the program. He also expressed the hope for prosperity and happiness of Nepal and the rest of the world, and wished the longlasting historical ties between Nepal and China will be further strengthened.
In Japan, a four-day Chinese Spring Festival celebration kicked off in Nankin-machi (Chinatown), Kobe last Thursday, with traditional dragon and lion dancing and acrobatics.
Fortune blessings' couplets were put up at the three entrances of Nankin-machi and red lanterns hung on the buildings along the street. The street was crowded with tourists, and a small makeshift stage in the central square attracted a large audience.
Girls from Kobe Chinese School performed Chinese ethnic dance, including Mongolian and Taiwan Gaoshan ethnic dances.