Feb. 2, 2024


3 min read

Envoy marks Chinese New Year

Envoy marks Chinese New Year

Ambassador Lei Kezhong

Story highlights

    The Chinese Lunar New Year is the beginning of the New Year based on the lunar calendar, or lunisolar calendar
    Over the years, more than 3, 000 Basotho have been trained in China, and 180 of them have participated in academic degree programmes

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THE Chinese ambassador to Lesotho, Lei Kezhong, has pledged to organise more gatherings and interactions in the future between the embassy and Basotho youth so as to promote mutual understanding, cultural exchange, friendship, and cooperation and provide support wherever possible.

He was speaking during a celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which was held at the Chinese embassy in Maseru on Wednesday this week.

The Chinese Lunar New Year is the beginning of the new year based on the lunar calendar, or lunisolar calendar.

Lunar calendars follow the lunar phase, while lunisolar calendars follow both the lunar phase and the time of the solar year.

The event is celebrated by numerous cultures in various ways on diverse dates.

As part of the celebration, there were activities such as Chinese chess, calligraphy, preparing traditional Chinese food, Chinese cultural dances performed by learners studying Chinese at the Confucius classroom at Machabeng College, guessing lantern riddles, and Q&A sessions.

Present at the event were Basotho youth, some of whom studied in China, some learning Chinese, members of the local media, and representatives from some political parties.

Over the years, more than 3, 000 Basotho have been trained in China, and 180 of them have participated in academic degree programmes.

"China and Lesotho have maintained friendly and cooperative relations for over three decades. Our relations are based on the principles of equality, mutual respect, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, and win-win cooperation,” said Kezhong.

This year, he said, marks the 30th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations between China and Lesotho, and the two sides are ready to work hand in hand as a new starting point to further upgrade bilateral relations, expand practical cooperation areas, and achieve greater development of China-Lesotho friendly cooperative relations.

"In the bilateral area, we have sound cooperation in infrastructure, agriculture, food security, renewable energy, scholarship, capacity building, and trade (98% zero tariff),” Kezhong said.

He further noted that 2023 marked the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) put forth by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

For participating countries pursuing development together, including Lesotho, BRI sets them on a road to cooperation, a road to opportunity, and a road to prosperity.

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The Mpiti to Sehlabathebe road has been constructed under the BRI framework.

“In 10 days’ time, it will be the Chinese new year, the year of the dragon. I wish each and every one of you a happy and prosperous year of the  dragon!"Kezhong said.

The Lunar New Year is the grandest ancient traditional festival in China that symbolises a celebration of the arrival of spring and the beginning of the new year on the lunisolar calendar. It is a time for honouring ancestors and hosting gatherings and feasts.

The date of the Chinese New Year changes each year since it is timed to coincide with when the new moon falls between the end of January and the end of February. Unlike most calendars, the Chinese calendar does not count years in an infinite sequence. Instead, years have names that correspond to a cycle of 12 animals. The sequence of animals in the Chinese tradition is a rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. As such, the year 2024 is the year of the dragon, and it begins on February 10, 2024, marking the end of the year of the rabbit.

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