|Acting Consul General Liu Jun Attended Chicago Bulls 2019 "Happy Chinese New Year" Game|
On February 7th, 2019, the second day of the Lunar New Year, as part of Chicago’s Chinese New Year celebrations, the Chicago Bulls once again held a "Happy Chinese New Year" game at their home court. Acting Consul General Liu Jun, Consul Zhang Min of the Culture Affairs Division, Vice President Matt Kobe and Senior Director Mark Levitt of the Chicago Bulls, and nearly 20,000 fans watched the game and enjoyed the performances put on by Chicago’s Huaxing Arts Groups. Tencent Sports broadcast the game.
On game night at the United Center, the Bulls played against the New Orleans Pelicans. Left and right, top to bottom, the stadium glowed in vibrant strokes of red—China’s national color and important element of the New Year. Team staff and volunteers wore special-made red T-shirts with "Happy New Year" written in both Chinese and English on the front. A "Chinese Dragon", prowling around the entrance and Michael Jordan’s statue, lured the audience into the stadium. Red light radiated off the large screen in the center of the stadium, flashing the words "Chinese New Year Celebration" towards the onlookers. When each team’s players were introduced, the screen, still resplendently red, displayed the names of the players in both English and Chinese. Cheerleaders then appeared dressed in red bodices and danced with sparkling energy. This array of distinctive Chinese cultural symbols filled the stadium with a true sense of holiday spirit, giving the audience an intimate look at the magnificence of the Chinese New Year.
Before the game began, famous Chinese tenor Tao Tong of Chicago was invited to sing the American national anthem. During the game’s first timeout, a speaker on behalf of the Bulls announced the special significance of this game, celebrating both the Chinese New Year and commemorating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. The speaker thanked the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago and Chicago’s Huaxing Arts Group for their support in making this game so special. The speaker concluded by wishing all the fans in the stadium holiday greetings. Acting Consul General Liu Jun then waved his hand to all in attendance through the live broadcast.
During intermission, Chicago’s Huaxing Arts Group put on a wonderful Chinese cultural performance for the audience. The majestic boom of Chinese drums, dancing dragons that raged and churned, a bold display of martial arts by both Chinese and American children, and vivacious national dances—these were the sights and sounds that left the audience in reverent rapture, roiling excitement, and ceaseless waves of cheer and applause.
During the game, Acting Consul General Liu Jun met with Vice President Kobe. He remarked, “The Spring Festival is China’s most important traditional festival and is a time for families to reunite and rejoice. Chinese people in all corners of the world, including Chicago, are organizing various celebrations to welcome in the New Year. This is the Chicago Bulls’ second year in a row holding a ‘Happy Chinese New Year’ home game, bringing to tens of thousands of basketball fans the auspicious and joyous atmosphere of the Chinese New Year, ultimately aiding in the enhancement of mutual understanding and friendship between the people of both nations. I certainly hope this will become an established tradition.”
Vice President Kobe agreed that the Chinese Lunar New Year is an important festival for the Chinese people. He said that it has been a great pleasure cooperating with those representing China to hold "Happy Chinese New Year" home games for two consecutive years, giving American basketball fans an opportunity to not only partake in the holiday joy, but also to experience the grace of Chinese traditional culture. He concluded by saying the Bulls are looking forward to strengthening ties with the Consulate General and conducting more cultural and athletic exchanges.