NICOSIA, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- The city of Paphos on the far western shores of the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus celebrated on Tuesday the upcoming Chinese New Year.
Dancers of China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater have brought "Shi Feng" drama to Cyprus as part of the celebrations of the Year of the Rat, which started on Jan. 25, 2020.
The dance drama took the audience to the south of ancient China, when a young man went through the hardships to become a general, but his beloved girl left him. At last the two met in the water forever.
"This is the first time I watched a performance from China. It was very impressive, very nice and I'll try to see more," Paphos resident Lakis Christodoulou told Xinhua after the performance which drew a packed audience at the city's newly renovated municipal theatre.
Lisa Korobova, a Russian residing in Cyprus, said "I really enjoy Chinese culture and especially Chinese modern culture. This performance was extremely outstanding. I had a very good time."
Addressing the audience at the Paphos Markideio Theatre, Chinese Ambassador to Cyprus Huang Xingyuan noted that this was the six consecutive year Paphos staged events to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
"This city has witnessed and contributed to every step we took towards fostering deeper bonds of friendship between China and Cyprus," Huang said.
He also commended Mayor Phedon Phedonos for making Paphos the city that has the most frequent and fruitful friendly exchanges and cooperation with China among all cities of Cyprus.
"We are confident that with concerted efforts, more and more Chinese will visit Paphos for travel and study, and that the local Chinese diaspora and Chinese companies will become even more engaged in Paphos' strategy of building a Smart City with rich cultural heritage, to make the ancient birthplace of Aphrodite a modern-day incubator for upgraded and innovative China-Cyprus cooperation," he added.
To this end, he said, the Chinese Embassy in Cyprus will strengthen its collaboration with the Paphos Municipality.
Paphos has a large community of Chinese who made their residence in the city under the investment program of the Cypriot state.
The year 2020 is uniquely important to both China and Cyprus, as the island will celebrate 60 years of its independence, while China is in the final steps towards achieving its first centenary goal -- to build a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way.
Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos noted that the night's event was the third one organized in the last 12 months in the city and proof of the close bilateral ties.
"It is the result of the commitment of both sides to work together in order to bring together the peoples and cultures of our countries even closer, and the outcome is visible and substantial," he added.