The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District this week welcomed the Chinese Consul General to the city for a colourful celebration of the Chinese New Year.
A series of events took place at venues across Londonderry showcasing elements of traditional Chinese culture including a Chinese dragon dance performance, music and cuisine, led by the Sai Pak Community Association.
The events concluded with a special celebration of the New Year in the Guildhall hosted by the Mayor and the local Chinese Community.
This was the first visit to the city by the newly appointed Consul General Zhang Meifang, who took up her role in December.
Welcoming Madame Zhang to the City, Mayor John Boyle said the Chinese New Year festivities presented an opportunity to celebrate the developing relationship between N. Ireland and China and engage with our local Chinese community and students.
“I was honoured to be invited to visit China myself in October as part of a NI delegation visit to Dalian City for the UK-China Regional Leaders Summit, and to have the opportunity to learn more about the wonderful culture of the country,” he said.
He added@ “As a region we have many shared interests with China, particularly in terms of tourism, business, technology and education, which has resulted in a Friendly Co-operative City Agreement which Council signed last year to formally acknowledge this strong working relationship.
“Links with the East are hugely important in assisting us expand our business, tourism and education connections, in tandem with the ongoing work to develop partnerships in the US.”
During the visit the Mayor held a private meeting with the Consul General before Madame Zhang and the group also enjoyed a tour of the city’s historic Walls before the traditional New Year celebrations took place in the Guildhall.
Speaking after the event, Head of Business with Derry and Strabane District Council, Kevin O’Connor said: “It was also an opportunity for us to discuss the ongoing collaborations with Dalian City which we expect to yield new opportunities for trade and investment as well as developing global business and education connections.”
The Sai Pak Chinese Community Association helped organise events around the celebration, and welcoming the Consul General to the city, Nikki Linfung Yau from the group said: “As the collaboration with Dalian City continues we are delighted that we can showcase the Chinese Culture and Traditions in Derry City and Strabane District.”
The event was funded under Council’s Good Relations Programme which is part funded by the Executive Office,