|Remarks by Consul General Zhao Weiping at the Kick-Off Event of 2016 Chinese New Year Celebration in Chicago|
Distinguished Guests,Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon and happy Chinese New Year.
I'm delighted to join you in kicking off the citywide 2016 Chinese New Year Celebration hosted by Choose Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events of the City of Chicago with the support of the Ministry of Culture of China as well as local partner organizations including the Chinese Fine Arts Society.
This is the third year for Chicago to host the Chinese New Year Celebration in the name of the city government. I wish to express my deep appreciation to the Honorable Mayor Emanuel for his vision and guidance in making this annual event possible. And I thank all of you for your contribution in this regard. My special thanks go to the visiting Chinese artists who have traveled across the Pacific to attend this event.
The annual celebration of the Chinese New Year has become a wonderful example of the great cultural diversity of this vibrant city as well as the ever-growing close ties between China and Chicago, which has played an important role in strengthening the mutual understanding of our two peoples. Many people in China have come to know Chicago as a very friendly city because of this annual event.
This year is the China-US Tourism Year as declared by President Xi Jinping and President Obama during President Xi's visit to the US last September. Events like the Chinese New Year Celebration will certainly help stimulate more two-way tourism between China and Chicago. Currently, there are over 30 direct flights between Chinese cities and Chicago every week. So travel is indeed very easy, you can go anytime you like, and air fares are usually very reasonable. I've been living in Chicago for three years. I really love my life here. I do encourage my fellow Chinese to visit this beautiful city. And I hope more Chicagoans will visit China as well.
In closing, I wish 2016 Chinese New Year Celebration a complete success and all of you a healthy and prosperous Year of the Monkey. Thank you.