On 25 January 2017, on the occasion of Chinese New Year, Chinese Consulate General in Edinburgh and the City of Edinburgh Council, in partnership with Bank of China(UK),Asian Association of Culture, Commerce and Education in Europe and Alba Cathay Chinese School, co-hosted a reception and concert in Usher Hall. Mr. Pan Xinchun, Chinese Consul General in Edinburgh, Rt. Hon Donald Wilson, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Mr. Alasdair Allan MSP, Minister for International Development and Europe and Mr. Sun Yu, Chief Executive of Bank of China(UK) attended the event and delivered speeches. The celebrations were also participated by 1500 guests, including Provosts, MSPs, Councilors, representatives of Scottish people from all walks of life, Chinese communities and Chinese students in Scotland.
On that evening Usher Hall was characterized by the traditional Chinese cultural features with decorations of Chinese knots, red lanterns and rooster toys. Chinese traditional dragon and lion dance and Scottish pipe band performance kicked off the celebrations, attracting many passers-by to watch and bringing happy and peaceful Chinese New Year festive atmosphere to the city.
Consul General Pan made a keynote speech. He extended his festival greetings to the Chinese community and Scottish People. He said, 2016 was a memorable year for China with new achievements in its development. China's economic growth continued to lead the world with GDP growing by 6.7%, and 10 million more people getting rid of poverty. China continued to lead the world in cutting edge technologies such as supercomputers, quantum satellites, space telescopes and manned spaceflights. Meanwhile, China continued to make new contributions to the growth of global economy. China hosted a successful G20 Summit, offering new solutions to improve global economic and financial governance. The "One Belt, One Road" Initiative borne new fruits. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund played more positive roles.
Mr. Pan said, 2016 marked the first year of "Golden Era" of China-UK relations and saw the fruitful cooperation between China and Scotland. Bilateral high-level exchanges had been maintained. Trade and investment cooperation achieved big progress. People-to-people exchanges became more active. About forty Chinese artistic troupes participated in the Edinburgh Festival. Over 20 thousand Scottish students are learning Chinese language and culture. Meanwhile, around ten thousand Chinese students have chosen Scottish universities for their higher education.
Mr. Pan said, 2017 is the Year of the Rooster, a symbol of hard work, punctuality and credibility. In the new year, Chinese people will work hard so as to realize the great dream of national rejuvenation. 2017 will also mark the 45th anniversary of the establishment of ambassadorial relations between China and the UK as well as the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Chinese Consulate General in Edinburgh. The Consulate General would like to seize the opportunity and join hands with all relevant parities in Scotland to push our friendship and cooperation to a new high.
Mr. Pan also spoke highly of Chinese communities in Scotland for their contributions to the development of China and close links between China and Scotland over the past year.
Lord Provost Donald Wilson extended his festival greetings to the Chinese communities. He said, he was delighted to co-host the event to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Chinese new year celebrations in Edinburgh have grown from strengthen to strengthen in last few years. Chinese cultural performances such as dragon and lion dance have become more and more popular and well-known to the Scottish people. Edinburgh has increasing links with China. In 2016, Edinburgh held numbers of Chinese cultural events such as "Shanghai Culture Week". The co-operations such as International Creative Industries Incubation Centers in Edinburgh and Shenzhen have been carried out successfully. It also received many Chinese delegations. The Edinburgh City Council would like to further promote exchanges and co-operations between the two sides.
Minister Alasdair Allan reviewed the exchanges and co-operations between Scotland and China in fields of high level visits, economy, culture and education, etc. He expressed his appreciation to the Consulate General for its efforts in developing bilateral relations. He said, lots of achievements have been made in trade and investment between Scotland and China. China's investment to Scotland is growing. The two sides have organized different cultural and people-to-people's events in both Scotland and China in past years. Chinese communities has made a huge contribution to the development of Scottish culture, economy and local communities as well as Scotland-China relationship. The Scottish Government will continue to strengthen the friendly ties with China.
During the Concert, tenors and sopranos from China, students from Alba Cathay Chinese School and Scottish Rollin Drones presented brilliant performances to the audiences, expressing their best wishes to both Chinese and Scottish people in the New Year.