Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama (C, front), Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Zhang Ping (L, front) and Jenny Seeto, president of the Chinese Association in Fiji, cut ribbon for the Fiji-China Friendship Pavilion during Chinese New Year celebrations held in Suva, Fiji, Jan. 28, 2017. (Xinhua/Liu Peng)
SUVA, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama celebrated Lunar New Year with the Chinese community here on Saturday, commending their contributions to Fiji and hailing bilateral ties.
According to the Chinese lunar calendar, Jan. 28 marks the first day of the Year of the Rooster.
Various celebrations, including a lion dance, singing and dancing, were staged at the city center of Suva on Saturday, during which the Fiji-China Friendship Pavilion was unveiled jointly by Fijian Prime Minister Bainimarama, Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Zhang Ping, and Jenny Seeto, president of the Chinese Association in Fiji.
Bainimarama acknowledged the local Chinese community's contributions to Fiji and hailed the friendly relations between Fiji and China.
"This beautiful new space - open to all - stands as a monument to the enormous contribution our Chinese community has made to our development as a nation, and as the name suggests, to the strong bonds of friendship that Fiji and China have always shared," Bainimarama said before unveiling the pavilion.
"I'm delighted to be here today among so many leaders in our Chinese Fijian community to join in your celebration of the Chinese New Year... I can say confidently that since their arrival, our Chinese Fijian community has been an integral part of that rich cultural diversity that has made us the dynamic island nation we are today," said the Fijian prime minister.
In 2015, China decided to donate the Fiji-China Friendship Pavilion, joining the Pacific island country in celebrating the 160th anniversary of the arrival of Chinese Fijians.
"The pavilion itself is constructed in the traditional Chinese style that can be found in temples, parks and gardens throughout China today. This piece was actually constructed in China before being assembled here at Terry Walk," Bainimarama told the audience while delivering his keynote speech as the chief guest.
"We are pleased to have such an authentic representation of Chinese history to add to the beauty of our capital city," he said.
Bainimarama also sent his New Year greetings through Xinhua to all the Chinese throughout the world.
"On the first day of the Year of the Rooster, we wish you all Happy New Year," Bainimarama said.