Director General Ann Follin,
As we are welcoming the Chinese New Year of Rooster, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Sweden, I would like to extend my warm greetings and best wishes to you.
Rooster is the Chinese zodiac sign of this year. In traditional Chinese culture, rooster symbolizes diligence, courage, punctuality and credibility typical of Chinese people. The well-known Chinese idiom "Rise to practice swordplay upon hearing a rooster crow" tells us a story about a general who realized his wish of rendering service to the country got up to practice swordplay every morning at the moment he heard the crow of a rooster. This story inspires the Chinese generation after another who are determined to serve the country.
2016 witnessed the increasingly deepened cooperation between China and Sweden in the areas such as politics, business, trade, research, innovation, people-to-people and cultural exchanges. The China Cultural Center in Stockholm launched in September 2016 has become a new bridge connecting Asia and Europe for mutual understanding. In 2017, the China Cultural Center will hold new performances and exhibitions, organize language, cultural and art trainings, and academic lectures to enhance cultural cooperation and exchanges. We sincerely welcome you to take an active part!
Today is January 1st of the Chinese lunar calendar. We are glad to celebrate with Swedish friends the first day of the year of the rooster. Today also marks the 13th Spring Festival Celebration jointly held by the Chinese Embassy and the Far Eastern Museum. The concerted efforts and cooperation make Chinese Spring Festival part of Swedish life, Chinese culture takes root and Chinese folklore art become well-known in Sweden. I would like to express my gratitude to the Far Eastern Museum for the contributions to the 13 years of the celebrations and the cultural exchanges between the east and the west. I would extend my appreciation to the Chinese community and artists for your wonderful program, and my special appreciation to the artists from Shandong of China for your brilliant performance and paper cutting, clay sculpture demonstration. We are glad to see here so many enthusiastic Swedish friends and kids.
I wish you all a very happy Chinese New Year and a lucky and prosperous year of the rooster.