|Consul General Hong Lei Attended 2018 Happy Chinese New Year Celebrations at NBA Team Detroit Pistons|
In the evening of February 9, 2018, the Detroit Pistons held the 2018 Happy Chinese New Year celebrations at its home court. Consul General Hong Lei attended the event together with Vice Chairman of Detroit Pistons Arn Tellem and Consul of Cultural Affairs Zhang Min. It is the first time that Pistons invited local Chinese art troupes to celebrate the Chinese New Year at its home court.
The game was between Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Clippers. Before the game, students from local Chinese schools staged a fabulous martial art performance. During the halftime break of the game, local Chinese art troupes performed dances with distinctive Chinese characteristics, filling the court with Chinese New Year joy and festivity. At the end of the performance, a golden dragon came to the arena center and brought the celebration to a climax. The Detroit Pistons announced that the event was to celebrate the Chinese Spring Festival with the strong support from the Consulate General of China in Chicago. Consul General Hong Lei then walked to the center of the court and greeted the audience.
After the game, Consul General Hong Lei and Vice Chairman Tellem received an interview from Detroit local media. Consul General Hong Lei said that the Ping-pong diplomacy unveiled the normalization of China-U.S. Relations 46 years ago. Today, NBA is playing an important role in cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. NBA has over 300 million fans in China and enjoys a huge market potential. Detroit Pistons is a strong team in NBA and enjoys wide popularity in China. With more than 4,000 years of history, Spring Festival is the most important traditional festival for the Chinese people. Detroit Pistons’ celebration of the Chinese New Year showcases the strong importance it attaches to the Chinese community and Chinese culture. Consul General Hong Lei hopes that the Detroit Pistons could continue to expand sports cooperation with China, facilitate cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two sides, and enhance understanding and friendship between the two peoples.
Vice President Tellem said that sports is an important component of human civilization. NBA is a world game and its number of fans in China surpasses the total population of America. Detroit Pistons has long valued cooperation with China and hopes to play games in China and have more communication with Chinese basketball players. President Tellem said that the team wishes to hold more Happy Chinese New Year activities in the future and strengthen ties with local Chinese communities.
The Happy Chinese New Year activities were jointly organized by the Chinese Association in North America, the Chinese Association of Greater Detroit and Detroit Pistons. During the game, Consul General Hong Lei talked with the Chinese community performers and wished them a happy Spring Festival. He also acknowledged their efforts in sharing the Chinese culture and enriching the cultural life of local community.