|Acting Consul General Liu Jun Attended Chicago's 2019 "Happy Chinese New Year" Event Series Launching Ceremony|
On February 5th, 2019, the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, the launching ceremony of Chicago’s 2019 "Happy Chinese New Year" event series took place at the Chicago Cultural Center. Nearly 500 people from various circles, among them Acting Consul General Liu Jun, Director of the city's Foreign Affairs Office and representative of the Mayor’s office Ms. Lisa Kohnke, Commissioner Mark Kelly of the Cultural Affairs and Special Events Department, and CEO David Whitaker of Choose Chicago attended the ceremony. Consul Zhang Min of the Chinese Consulate’s Cultural Affairs Division also made an appearance.
Acting Consul General Liu Jun first extended New Year greetings to all the guests in attendance. He said that rich with cultural significance, the Spring Festival is China’s most important traditional holiday. It therefore gives me great pleasure to be able to share the first day of this holiday with you. This year marks the sixth consecutive year of our jointly organized “Happy Chinese New Year” celebrations with the government of Chicago. Those involved in the planning and organization have helped continually expand and diversify this event series. Acting Consul General Liu Jun then gave an overview of the main events involved in this year’s celebrations and expressed his sincere gratitude towards the government of Chicago, Cultural Affairs and Special Events Department, Choose Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Cultural Center, and Chinese Fine Arts Society, as well as friends from various circles for their dedicated efforts.
Acting Consul General Liu Jun then went on, “China and the United States are both countries with significant global influence and our two nations’ citizens are equally as important. Chicago’s ‘Happy Chinese New Year’ event series has now become an annual tradition, one that never ceases to make significant contributions to the enhancement of mutual understanding and trust between our two nations. In the future, I hope that we continue to work together to organize ever more cultural exchanges, and in the process, deepen understanding and friendship and set China-US relations on the right course.”
Director Kohnke, Commissioner Kelly and CEO Whitaker then each gave opening remarks. Ms.Kohnke first read a congratulatory letter written by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. In his letter, Mayor Emanuel reflected on his experiences visiting various Chinese cities in 2018 and mentioned that 2019 marks the 34th anniversary of the establishment of friendly city relations between Chicago and Shanghai and Shenyang respectively. He then exclaimed that events as the "Happy Chinese New Year" series will not only further increase friendship between both countries, but also promote exchanges and cooperation between the city of Chicago and China in various fields.
Director Kelly commented that various major cities around the world are holding all kinds of Chinese New Year celebrations, allowing the entire globe’s citizens to bathe in the holiday spirit. Chicago’s annual “Happy Chinese New Year” event series has already become a major highlight of the city. In Chinese culture, the Year of the Pig represents happiness and prosperity. Kelly then wished Chicago’s 2019 "Happy Chinese New Year" event series great success.
CEO Whitaker remarked that for the past several years, there has been a consistent increase in the amount of Chinese tourists visiting Chicago. In 2018, about 250,000 Chinese tourists came to Chicago. He believes that through this year’s "Happy Chinese New Year" celebrations, the people of both nations, especially the younger generation, will be given a great opportunity to understand each other's culture and history, which in turn will help promote mutual respect and understanding and contribute to the healthy development of bilateral relations.
During the launching ceremony, the artists of the National Peking Opera Company and local Chinese art troupes performed two pieces from the repertoire of Beijing Opera named "At the Crossroads" and "Havoc in Heaven", as well as wonderful dance, martial arts, guzheng, and pipa performances. The audience was taken aback by the brilliant performances. Throughout the event, Acting Consul General Liu Jun also conducted interviews with CCTV, Xinhua News Agency, and local Chicago media outlets.