Chinese Embassy Marks New Year in Tbilisi

The New Year’s euphoria has come to an end for western society, yet, according to the Chinese calendar, it has only just arrived! So, congratulations once again! On the 7th of February, on the eve of Chinese New Year, the new Chinese Ambassador of Georgia held a special reception at Hualing Preference Hotel.

The occasion was as large as China itself, ample with distinguished guests from the government, diplomatic corps and so on. After the arrival of the guests, national anthems of both China and Georgia followed.

“We are celebrating our Spring Festival, the most important traditional festival in China,” said Ambassador Ji Yanchi in his welcoming speech. “It symbolizes the return of spring and revival of life. It carries people’s hopes and expectations for New Year as well as their longing for peace and tranquility.”

The event was the first spring festival for him and his wife in Georgia. “Ever since I stepped onto the soil of Georgia, I have felt love and friendship from the Georgian people.”

He went on to mention with gratitude the warm welcome of all the high officials of the country. “The ancient Silk Road linked our people together over two thousand years ago. At the end of the 19th century, a Chinese tea expert named Liu Junzhou came to Georgia. He brought tea seeds and plants with him and introduced tea-making technology to Georgia. He bred a high quality tea variety, called “Liu Cha” that won the golden medal at the International Industrial Expo in Paris. This has become a much-told interesting story symbolic of the friendly history of cooperation between China and Georgia.”

Ambassador Yanchi also noted that 2015 was a very fruitful year in bilateral relations between Georgia and China, naming the meeting of the two presidents in Turkmenistan, as well as those of the prime ministers and chairmen of parliament in China.

“The bilateral trade volume reached USD 713 million,” the Ambassador said. “Georgia’s overall export to China grew by 39 percent and export of Georgian wine by 122 percent. China became Georgia’s fourth largest trade partner and fourth largest wine importer. The two sides co-organized the Tbilisi Silk Road International Forum, the direct freight railway line was opened, a frame agreement on exchange of local currencies was signed, and the launch of free trade agreement negotiations were announced.” The ambassador also mentioned the growing cooperation in the fields of culture, education, science, technology, and tourism.

“I would like to underline that these results were achieved through the strong impetus from the leadership of the two countries,” Ambassador Yanchi declared, going on to thank the Georgian President and his team for their firm support in implementing new projects.

He also expressed readiness to continue efforts together with the Georgian side, to strengthen traditional friendship “expand pragmatic cooperation and make new contributions to promote friendly cooperation” between China and Georgia.

At the end of his speech, the Chinese Ambassador wished China and Georgia prosperity and happiness, peace and good health to their people. Toasts were made, followed by a fireworks display on huge screens and a stunning performance by Georgian singing and dancing ensemble ‘Erisioni.’ World renowned delicious Chinese dishes were the finishing touch to a most pleasant celebration.

Maka Lomadze

11 February 2016 19:39