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Celebrating the Year of the Dragon: A Vibrant Spring Festival at the Embassy of China in The Hague

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Diplomat Magazine
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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands. Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. "Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions." Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher

In a grandiose affair, Ambassador Jian Tan warmly welcomed over 400 guests to the Embassy of China in The Hague for a magnificent celebration heralding the arrival of the Year of the Dragon. The event, held on the 8th of February, was a dazzling display of Chinese culture, with vibrant colors, mesmerizing dancers, and captivating music filling the wide-ranging room. The atmosphere was brimming with joy and positive energy as attendees from diverse backgrounds, including members of the Chinese diaspora, Dutch society, government officials, ambassadors from almost every country and representatives from the diplomatic corps at large, gathered to commemorate the auspicious occasion.

Addressing the gathered audience, Ambassador Tan shared his excitement for the upcoming Year of the Dragon, a symbol representing success, growth, progress, and abundance in Chinese culture. He emphasized the significance of the dragon as a legendary creature, revered as a totem of Chinese heritage and symbolizing strength and wisdom. Ambassador Tan highlighted the auspicious nature of the dragon, contrasting it with interpretations in some Western cultures.

The Year of the Dragon – Celebrating at the Embassy of China in The Hague. February 8, 2024

The Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year, holds profound importance in Chinese tradition. Ambassador Tan underscored two key aspects of the festival: family reunion and the spirit of hope and renewal. He elaborated on the massive scale of the Spring Festival travel rush, where billions of trips are made as people across China reunite with their families, reinforcing bonds and rejuvenating spirits for the year ahead.

“People are expected to return to their hometown and get-together with family members, to renew the bond.” he said.

“Starting from Jan 26 to March 5 this year, for a period of 40 days, we call it Spring Festival travel rush, 9 billion passenger trips are being made, the largest human migration on earth. What a scale! I am sharing the number, not to intimidate, but to impress.”

Expressing his optimism for the Year of the Dragon, Ambassador Tan outlined his expectations for China’s high-quality development, emphasizing ongoing reforms, increased openness, and integration into the global economy. He cited examples such as foreign investors now having full ownership rights in certain sectors and visa-free arrangements to promote tourism and enhance international understanding.

Ambassador Tan stated “China will continue to reform deeper and open wider, getting more connected with the rest of the world, and hopefully, more integrated into the global economy.   One case in point is that foreign investors can now have 100% ownership of the banking and insurance companies they set up in China. Another concrete example: 2024 is a visa free year for citizens from the Netherlands and some other countries visiting China for a stay within 15 days. This is a unilateral arrangement.” 

Celebrating the Year of the Dragon. February 8, 2024. Embassy of China in The Hague.

High-quality development also means environmental-friendly. According to the International Energy Agency, over the past several years, China accounts for more than half of the newly installed renewable energy capacity globally.

“Our economic growth rate last year was 5.2%, making 30% contribution to global growth, a true engine.”

Celebrating the Year of the Dragon 2024.

Furthermore, Ambassador Tan articulated his hopes for the continued growth of Sino-Dutch relations, commemorating President Xi Jinping’s visit to the Netherlands in 2014, now the 10th anniversary of the “open and pragmatic partnership for comprehensive cooperation.” Despite challenges, he highlighted the Netherlands as a crucial partner for China-EU cooperation, expressing eagerness to collaborate with the new Dutch government.

In his address, Ambassador Tan also extended wishes for peace, development, and cooperation in the new year, acknowledging the global challenges ahead. He emphasized the importance of unity and collaboration in addressing shared issues such as climate change and international conflicts, advocating for a renewed focus on humanity and a shared future.

China Spring Festival celebration 2024

As the festivities continued, guests were treated to a lavish Chinese buffet, further enhancing the celebratory atmosphere. Conversations flowed freely, and well-wishes were exchanged late into the night, marking the conclusion of a truly magnificent celebration.

In closing, Ambassador Tan raised a toast to peace, development, and cooperation, celebrating the enduring friendship between the peoples of China and the Netherlands and wishing all attendees a Happy Spring Festival and abundant blessings in the Year of the Dragon. With its vibrant festivities and profound messages of hope and unity, the Spring Festival at the Embassy of China in The Hague was a enormous success, symbolizing the spirit of joy, prosperity, and cultural exchange.

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