The Chinese Embassy in South Africa, the Chinese community in South Africa, including Taiwan compatriots, and the Chinese businesses and institutions in South Africa jointly held the Chinese Lantern Festival Carnival at China Mall Johannesburg in celebration of the 20th anniversary of China-South Africa diplomatic relations.
During the two-day event, a large scale charity sale was held to support wildlife protection in South Africa.
Over 20 000 people participated in the event, including South African government officials, former government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, South African public, staff members of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa and Chinese Consulate General in Johannesburg, Chengdu cultural and arts delegations, the Chinese community in South Africa including Taiwan compatriots, Chinese businesses and institutions, and mainstream Chinese and South African press.
The event provided a great opportunity to celebrate the Chinese Lantern Festival, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of China-SA diplomatic ties, and to display the traditional Chinese culture, Chinese cuisine, and the friendship between the two countries and the two peoples.
Apart from art performances, the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, the Chinese Consulate General in Johannesburg, the Chinese community in South Africa including Taiwan compatriots, and the Chinese businesses and institutions together set up 60 charity sale shops, which in total raised R200 000.
Celebrating the fruits of 20 years of China-South Africa diplomatic relations
The fund is donated to the Kruger National Park to support wildlife protection.
Ambassador Lin said the purpose of the Chinese Lantern Festival Carnival was three fold.
First is to share with South African friends, and continental Africa the joy of the traditional Chinese festival.
Second is to celebrate the fruits of 20 years of China-South Africa diplomatic relations, to thank the contributions from across the South African society, and look forward to the bright future of China-SA ties.
Third is to encourage the Chinese and South African friends to step forward on the occasion of the World Wildlife Day to loudly say no to illegal wildlife poaching and smuggling, so as to increase public awareness on wildlife protection.
Ambassador Lin said that respecting nature and cherishing life is the core value and pursuit of the Chinese culture.
The traditional Chinese culture calls for unity between man and nature, the essence of which is to regard the man and nature as an inseparable entity, emphasising harmonious development between man and nature.
Harmonious co-existence between man and nature
Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that man and nature form a shared community of life. The human society must respect the nature, protect the nature, and follow the laws of nature.
To pursue harmonious coexistence between man and nature is an important mission of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.
It is the natural requirement for building a beautiful China, and is our common objective and pursuit of our joint efforts towards a community with a shared future for mankind and towards a clean and beautiful world.
Ambassador Lin said that the Chinese government attached great importance to wildlife protection, and has taken a series of major measures in legislation and enforcement to continuously advance the cause of wildlife protection.
China has also actively participated in and promoted relevant international cooperation. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese government has taken unprecedented steps to combat illegal ivory smuggling.
In an effort to further promote elephant protection, the Chinese government has taken the firm resolve to put a full ban on all ivory products, including the legally sourced ones from 31 December 2017, effectively putting an end to ivory carving, an intangible cultural heritage of China with thousands of years of history.
Chinese commitment to combat poaching of wildlife
Ambassador Lin said that it was undeniable that there are still a handful of Chinese driven by interest commit illegal wildlife poaching and trafficking. Their criminal activities gravely undermine the interest and image of China and the Chinese people.
The Chinese government wishes to reiterate that it adopts a zero-tolerance attitude towards any Chinese who are involved in illegal wildlife poaching and smuggling.
China firmly supports South Africa and other African countries to deal with relevant crimes seriously according to law.
China is willing to strengthen law enforcement co-operation with South Africa, and resort to the strictest legal measures to punish and deter relevant crimes, and resolutely prevent situations where criminals get off easily by a small fine from happening again. The remarks of Ambassador Lin received rounds of applause from the audience. The two-day carnival was concluded with a full success.
South African government officials, former government officials and journalists spoke highly of the event, praising it as both colorful and meaningful, effectively deepening mutual understanding between the Chinese and the South African people, demonstrating the new image of China and the Chinese people, and showcasing the richness of the Chinese culture and the organizational capacity of the Chinese people.
Event organizers and participants all expressed that they are very proud to contribute to the success of the event.
During the event, Ambassador Lin received interviews with a number of South African and Chinese media. Ambassador Lin and Consul General Ruan Ping were present throughout the two-day event.
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